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Impact of an ivermectin mass drug administration on scabies prevalence in a remote Australian Aboriginal community

Kearns, Therese M., Speare, Richard, Cheng, Allen C., McCarthy, James, Carapetis, Jonathan R., Holt, Deborah C., Currie, Bart J., Page, Wendy, Shield, Jennifer M., Gundjirryirr, Roslyn, Bundhala, Leanne, Mulholland, Eddie, Chatfield, Mark D. and Andrews, Ross M. (2015). Impact of an ivermectin mass drug administration on scabies prevalence in a remote Australian Aboriginal community<br />. PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases,9(10 - Article No. e0004151):1-13.

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IRMA ID 10444xPUB9
NHMRC Grant No. 605804
Title Impact of an ivermectin mass drug administration on scabies prevalence in a remote Australian Aboriginal community
Author Kearns, Therese M.
Speare, Richard
Cheng, Allen C.
McCarthy, James
Carapetis, Jonathan R.
Holt, Deborah C.
Currie, Bart J.
Page, Wendy
Shield, Jennifer M.
Gundjirryirr, Roslyn
Bundhala, Leanne
Mulholland, Eddie
Chatfield, Mark D.
Andrews, Ross M.
Journal Name PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases
Publication Date 2015
Volume Number 9
Issue Number 10 - Article No. e0004151
ISSN 1935-2727   (check CDU catalogue open catalogue search in new window)
eISSN 1935-2735
Scopus ID 2-s2.0-84946020800
Start Page 1
End Page 13
Total Pages 13
Place of Publication United States
Publisher Public Library of Science
Field of Research 110309 - Infectious Diseases
HERDC Category C1 - Journal Article (DIISR)
Scabies is endemic in many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, with 69% of infants infected in the first year of life. We report the outcomes against scabies of two oral ivermectin mass drug administrations (MDAs) delivered 12 months apart in a remote Australian Aboriginal community.


Utilizing a before and after study design, we measured scabies prevalence through population census with sequential MDAs at baseline and month 12. Surveys at months 6 and 18 determined disease acquisition and treatment failures. Scabies infestations were diagnosed clinically with additional laboratory investigations for crusted scabies. Non-pregnant participants weighing ≥15 kg were administered a single 200 μg/kg ivermectin dose, repeated after 2-3 weeks if scabies was diagnosed, others followed a standard alternative algorithm.


We saw >1000 participants at each population census. Scabies prevalence fell from 4% at baseline to 1% at month 6. Prevalence rose to 9% at month 12 amongst the baseline cohort in association with an identified exposure to a presumptive crusted scabies case with a higher prevalence of 14% amongst new entries to the cohort. At month 18, scabies prevalence fell to 2%. Scabies acquisitions six months after each MDA were 1% and 2% whilst treatment failures were 6% and 5% respectively.


Scabies prevalence reduced in the six months after each MDA with a low risk of acquisition (1-2%). However, in a setting where living conditions are conducive to high scabies transmissibility, exposure to presumptive crusted scabies and population mobility, a sustained reduction in prevalence was not achieved.
Keywords scabies
mass drug administration
DOI   (check subscription with CDU E-Gateway service for CDU Staff and Students  check subscription with CDU E-Gateway in new window)
Additional Notes This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. - Data has been deposited into Dryad Digital Repository:
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