Doctors in the UK are reporting that a sudden rise in scabies across the UK could lead to a "nightmare" situation.

According to exclusive reports from The Guardian, cases of scabies have increased due to a shortage of treatments. 

In the UK scabies are often treated with either permethrin or malathion, however, supply chain issues and the ongoing war in Ukraine have resulted in month-long shortages of the two treatments. 

Now dermatologists and doctors in the UK have said treatment shortages could result in a public health crisis if people with scabies are not treated quickly, reports The Guardian.

Warning of scabies outbreak in the UK

In November, reports of scabies in the north of England were double the normal amount of cases for the area.

Speaking to The Guardian, one dermatologist shared that if scabies were to spread to care homes, nursing homes or university accommodations, it could be an "absolute nightmare".

Adding that national tracking of scabies patients is "very limited" as dermatologists warn figures of the infection could be higher than reported.

Oxford Mail: A shortage of treatment is seeing a rise in scabies. A shortage of treatment is seeing a rise in scabies. (Image: Getty)

Discussing the shortage of scabies treatment, the president of the British Association of Dermatologists Prof Mabs Chowdhury said: "The shortage of scabies treatments is something that urgently needs more attention.

"The public health calculation is not particularly complex, scabies spread easily and if people aren’t treated, then it will continue to spread.

"Unfortunately, the consequences of treatment shortages are proving easy to ignore.

"There is very limited tracking of scabies cases and people are often embarrassed to talk about it."

What is scabies?

According to the NHS, scabies is an "itchy rash caused by mites", adding that it "spreads through close skin contact, and anyone can get it. It should be treated quickly to stop it spreading."

What are the symptoms of scabies?

There are two main symptoms of scabies:

  • a raised rash or spots
  • intense itching, especially at night

Scabies rashes often spread over the whole body apart from the head and neck and can often be seen on hands, wrists, waist and bottom.

The NHS adds that older adults and young children could likely get a scabies rash on their head, neck, palms and feet.

It's also important to note that scabies are not due to poor hygiene and anyone can get the infection.