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Is scabies an increasing problem in the UK, and how should the UK Health Security Agency and sexual health services respond?
  1. Georgina Claire Morris1,
  2. Lewis Haddow2,
  3. Parameswaran Sashidharan3
  1. 1 Wiltshire Sexual Health Service, Salisbury NHS Foundation Trust, Salisbury, UK
  2. 2 Wolverton Centre for Sexual Health, Kingston Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, Kingston upon Thames, UK
  3. 3 Homerton Sexual Health Service, Clifden Centre, Homerton Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, London, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Georgina Claire Morris, Wiltshire Sexual Health Service, Salisbury NHS Foundation Trust, Salisbury, SP2 8BJ, UK; georginamorris1{at}

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Scabies, an itchy skin condition caused by Sarcoptes scabiei, affects millions of people worldwide.1 Sexual transmission can occur, but most spread is direct skin-to-skin contact and rarely fomite transmission. Children, refugees, care home, hostel and prison residents and those living in poorer socioeconomic settings are most at risk.1 2

Are rates of scabies rising in the UK?

In February 2023, the British Association for Sexual Health and HIV (BASHH) alerted members to reports of an increase in scabies and apparent treatment-resistant cases in Southern England. There has been a concurrent increase in bacterial sexually transmitted infections, so a rise in sexually transmitted scabies was not unexpected.3 UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) conducts surveillance of scabies through GUMCAD …

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  • Contributors This column was conceived by GCM, LH and PS.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; internally peer reviewed.