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ABC Stateline Report - Beating scabies and strongyloidiasis

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Menzies beating scabies and strongyloidiasis [HQ]

“Beating scabies and strongyloidiasis in a remote Aboriginal community in the Northern Territory”” is an NHMRC funded community-based study incorporating ivermectin as a mass treatment for scabies (skin mites) and Strongylolides stercoralis (intestinal worms).

This work follows on from the “East Arnhem Healthy Skin Project” (EAHSP) which was conducted from 2004 – 2007 (see below). The potential role of ivermectin was one of the key recommendations emerging from that work and is now the basis of an ongoing collaboration with one of the East Arnhem communities.

A particularly exciting aspect of the new work has been the training of local health workers and local community members in a newly developed, nationally accredited program Certificate II in Child Health Research. Twelve of these people will be employed directly on the project while others are already employed through the local health clinic.


The workers are currently going house to house to explain the study proposal and will be returning to seek informed consent for community members to participate. The study plan includes the use of ivermectin (unless contra-indicated) for all community members as part of a mass drug administration program starting in April 2010. All eligible participants will receive one dose of ivermectin and those diagnosed with scabies or strongyloidiasis will receive two doses two weeks apart. The prevalence of both diseases will be monitored and treated at four different time points over an 18 month period.