Scabies – A common skin disease


“It starts with soldiers living together in a confined space.”

Medical historian Professor Hans-Georg Hofer, University of M√ľnster

“… prepare for the battle and prevail in this narrow space poor hygienic conditions, but the scabies is not only a disease of poor hygiene, but also a disease that occurs when many people live together.”

During and after the two world wars, scabies were widespread not only among soldiers, returnees and refugees, but also in orphanages, poor homes, nursing homes, hospitals and schools. The disease itself was already known to the ancient doctors: itchy rash with pustules and blisters. The explanation of the symptoms, however, was different than today.

“The concept at the time was that of humoral pathology, a concept that essentially extended to European medicine of the nineteenth century, even in dermatological aspects, and linked diseases of the skin to the juices in the interior of the body a disorder of juices, the so-called “dyscrasia”, the symptoms came to a certain extent to the outside, formed on the skin surface. “

With the invention of the microscope, the true cause came to light

According to the humoral pathology doctrine, bleeding was also a common therapy, the letting out and draining off the toxic juices from the inside of the body. Hans-Georg Hofer:

On the other hand, ancient and later also Arab physicians experimented with skin remedies, for example with sulfur, with tar, and also with mercury, which was mixed with rose oil in order to be able to apply it tolerably to the skin. even through this strong painful stimulus, the inside of the body could get into balance. “

With the invention of the microscope in the 17th century, the mite could be seen as the cause of the scabies. One knew of the little animal that hides in the upper layer of the skin, but one could not bring it into a causal connection with the illness, so Hofer. That succeeded later.

“Ferdinand von Hebra, a Viennese physician, started around 1850, this specific …

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Original Language of Article: German
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