The Mighty Mite: How Scabies has taken over Durham and what to do if you’ve got it

TL;DR if you’re feeling itchy, for the love of god, don’t have sex

As you might already tell by the influx of online jokes, the smell of ‘Derbac’ lingering in the stuffy Billy B air, or simply an innocent itch, the latest outbreak of scabies has taken Durham by storm.

The ‘mighty mite’ has recently become a hot topic in Durfess/Overheard posts and comment sections with content ranging from informative advice, name-and-shame tagging friends, and exasperation from those already going through their millionth round of treatment.

In case you’ve been sleeping under a rock, here’s what you missed in the Durham scabies-verse online and IRL: stay tuned to find out how to treat it if you’re feeling itchy!

#Durfess25969 heralded the beginning of this epidemic…

Wanting to discover if all the online hype had as much basis in reality I popped over to Market Square Boots for an undercover investigation, finding out that they had completely sold out of ‘Permethrin’ cream and that the last two ‘Derbac’ bottles were going for £21 a pop! When subtly asking the woman working the counter how the apocalyptic empty shelf situation had come about she said she’d had “at least 30 people” asking for scabies treatment that day alone. She seemed to agree that this outbreak was unprecedented, even for Durham’s standards.

The ball pit has also been on the receiving end of some Durfess unfounded rumours. Numerous Facebook comments have joked it’s the source of the outbreak. A spokesperson for Bohemia said: “The rumours about scabies are completely false. The ball pit is cleaned after each event which takes place at Bohemia.”

A student was quick to make a scabies joke under a lost and found Overheard post concerning that same ball pit–

The most infamous scabies-related Overheard was no doubt this tongue-in-cheek lost and found post for this blatantly misplaced ‘Derbac’ bottle…

…with the comments inevitably circling back to the ever-mentioned ball pit!


But what’s the take-home message from all this scabies attention? First and foremost it would be highly unlikely to contract scabies from a ball pit given the hard plastic material of the balls so have fun and submerge to your heart’s desire!

Secondly, here’s a concise list of what you should and shouldn’t do during treatment to spot scabies spreading, courtesy of the NHS.


  1. Wash all bedding and clothing in the house at 50 degrees or higher on the first day of treatment
  2. Put clothing that cannot be washed into a sealed bag for three days until the mites die


  1. Have sex! (or close physical contact until you have completed the full course of treatment)
  2. Share bedding, clothing or towels with someone with scabies

For more advice from the NHS, see here.

Stay safe from the ‘mighty mite’; try not to get scabies, baby!

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