Update from the IACS 2018 Annual Meeting

20 November 2018

This year’s International Alliance for the Control of Scabies (IACS) annual global meeting was held in New Orleans, Louisiana, USA on 28 October. Participants came from varied sectors of global health including clinicians, researchers, public health experts, the World Health Organization (WHO), country programme managers, field implementers and donors. The meeting was attended by 42 participants, representing 11 countries.

IACS Oct 2018
IACS meeting participants in action

The objectives of this year’s meeting were to progress discussions toward development of regional/global control guidance for scabies, present new research, and strengthen networks and collaborations.

The stage was set by Dr Claire Fuller (International Foundation for Dermatology), who gave an update on the activities of IACS. This included the major achievement of scabies being listed on the WHO’s list of Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs).

The IACS meeting used a hypothetical country scenario to discuss and develop recommendations for the mapping and control of scabies in resource-limited, highly endemic settings. Professor Andrew Steer and Dr Daniel Engelman (Murdoch Children’s Research Institute, Australia) provided background presentations on the current evidence of the global burden of scabies, methodologies for further mapping, and the effectiveness of community control strategies. Participants then divided into four groups to discuss these issues in more detail.

Dr Paul Cantey (WHO Department of NTDs) facilitated a vibrant and productive discussion that highlighted many areas of consensus, as well as key operational research questions that need to be addressed. These discussions will be taken forward by WHO to further develop a global control strategy for scabies.

In the afternoon, cutting-edge research was presented and discussed by the group. Birhan Mengitu (Ethiopia Ministry of Health) presented an update on the public health response to a large outbreak of scabies in Ethiopia. Professor Ymkje Stienstra (University of Groningen, Netherlands) provided a presentation on use of Mass Drug Administration for asylum seekers in the Netherlands. Dr Roslyn Hickson (University of Melbourne, Australia) presented the first mathematical model of scabies transmission and control. Finally, Dr Asha Bowen (Telethon Kids Institute, Australia) presented research and Australian experiences that have led to the development of the Australian Skin guidelines.

Dr Olivier Chosidow (Hospital Henri-Mondor, France) led the final discussion, summarizing the events of the day.

IACS gratefully acknowledges the International Foundation for Dermatology (IFD) and the International League of Dermatological Societies (ILDS) for their generous financial support for the meeting. IACS also acknowledges the ongoing support of the Coalition of Operational Research on NTDs.

IACS is a global organisation committed to the public health control of scabies. Keep up to date with IACS activities via their website.