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Seyassah / Arab Times stands by scoop on ‘scabies’ – Health Ministry denies

KUWAIT CITY, April 11: For the past two-three days, all senior officials of Ministry of Health have been on alert. They have been denying the spread of scabies in Kuwait and the registration of 270 cases of scabies in Adan and Jahra hospitals, reports Al-Seyassah daily.

However, Head of Skin Diseases at Ministry of Health Dr Nawaf Al-Mutairi affirmed the discovery of the abovementioned number of cases of scabies and an increase in the infection rate lately. Reporters of the daily were referred to Dr Al-Mutairi by the spokesperson of Ministry of Health Dr Ahmed Al-Shatti who said Dr Al-Mutairi is the official in charge of this situation.

Meanwhile, senior officials of the ministry held a press conference at Adan Hospital in order to respond to the article published in Al-Seyassah daily about the cases of scabies recorded in Adan and Jahra hospitals. Dr Al-Mutairi revealed to the reporters of Al-Seyassah daily that the senior officials at the ministry are trying to hide the issue but the records in the hospitals affirm an increase in the infection rate of scabies disease compared to the rates recorded in the previous years.

Dr Al-Mutairi said, “The number of cases is actually more than what has been revealed. Officials of the ministry have formed a bloc and they hid the records from and refrained from disclosing accurate details to the minister and undersecretary of Ministry of Health in order to avoid bearing the responsibility and to avoid informing them about the increasing number of cases of scabies”.

He stressed that the ministry did not invite him to participate in any press conference in this regard out of fear that he will reveal the discovered number of cases. Dr Al-Mutairi indicated that the ministry did not ask him to provide information about the number of cases and other details in this regard, adding that the ministry divulged wrong information in his name but he had not given that wrong information.

On the contrary, the press releases issued by the senior officials of the ministry reveal that only one case of scabies was discovered in the last 12 days.

Pediatric Consultant at Sabah Hospital Dr Mohammad Al-Enezi affirmed that the disease is spreading in all Gulf countries and has led to closing of a number of schools, adding, “I personally diagnose cases of scabies in Kuwait every week”.

In a video circulated on social media, Dr Al-Enezi urged all parents and teachers to take utmost precautionary steps and treat case of scabies as per the stated medical methods.

Al-Seyassah daily sent the video to a number of officials in Ministry of Health but they did not comment by either confirming or denying it.

Officially, Undersecretary of Ministry of Health Dr Mustafa Redha affirmed that the ministry did not record any unusual cases of scabies.

He insisted that the rumors being peddled in that regard are unfounded, because no cases of scabies have been referred to any hospital over several months, indicating that patients suffering from scabies are usually not referred to hospitals.

Dr Redha declared this during a press conference held at Adan Hospital in the presence of hospital directors, heads of dermatology departments and Director of Infectious Prevention Department at the ministry.

He said, “The rumors making rounds concerning widespread of scabies are not true, and nothing unusual has happened. The Public Health Sector is monitoring the situation related to the epidemic in the region. The ministry has plans and preventive methods for handling such an incident. The medicine strategic reserve is enough to serve the country for eight months”.

Director of Adan Hospital Dr Hani Al- Mutairi and his counterpart at Jahra Hospital Dr Ali Al-Mutairi both said patients suffering from scabies in the hospitals were within the normal numbers and that there is nothing unusual. They assured that both hospitals have enough facilities for the treatment of these cases.

In addition, Head of the Epidemic Unit at Ministry of Health Dr Mesa’ab Al-Saleh affirmed the readiness of the ministry in over 40 locations across the country. He revealed about an emergency plan to deal with infectious diseases, stressing that few cases were being treated but within a limited range, but they are isolated cases and cannot be considered as an epidemic.

Dr Al-Saleh explained that the patients are mostly workers from another country. The country normally records less than ten cases annually but only one isolated case was recorded within the last 12 days. “There is no spread of disease in schools or any other institution,” the renowned epidemiologist reiterated.

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