KARACHI - The residents of Karachi islands including Baba Bhatt, Baba Island and Shams Peer are living amid unhygienic conditions for past many years due to which an epidemic of skin disease called as 'scabies has broken out in the area. The epidemic has roughly affected one or two members of many families in the Baba Island, The Nation learnt on Saturday. Although, the fated islands have had a history of scabies cases but it has recently gained the proportions of an epidemic. This 'discovery was made, a couple of days ago, at a free medical camp held by a philanthropist NGO, when scores of people came with the same complaint of a particular skin condition. This condition was later diagnosed as scabies. The doctors who attended the patients were surprised to see that out of 70 people who visited the camp, 40 were suffering from scabies including women and children. When this scribe visited Baba Island on Saturday, it was learnt that the real number of patients was much higher than the modest estimate made earlier at the medical camp. And the matter of concern is that there is no health facility in the Vincent where these fated islanders might get the needed treatment. Dr Altaf-ur-Rehman, appointed at the free medical treatment centre told The Nation that three days ago 70 patients visited at the clinic and out of them 40 had scabies. He said since most of the locals were fishermen and the low hygiene of the area renders them vulnerable to skin ailments due to tropical conditions. He opined that although the scabies here had become an epidemic but is was curable. Showing his concern over the intensity of the disease, he suggested that it was need of hour to launch a massive campaign against it in order to root it out from the area. Dr Rehman said he has informed the administrator of the free medical about the epidemic, but the situation is not as simple until all the required resources are utilised. When the scribe contacted to the UC-4 Nazim Muhammad Hanif, he confirmed the prevalence of the ailment at the islands. M Hanif said that he had repeatedly informed Town Health Officer (THO), of Kemari Town, EDO Health of CDGK, but so far no action could be taken. He said Although the Basic Health Unit (BHU) staff visited the islands, but nothing had been done by the provincial health ministry in this regard. It may be noted that recently Naveed Aslam has recently launched Pakistans first boat ambulance service for the residents of the island. The director of the free medical centre, Naveed Aslam said that when the doctors and paramedics informed him about that scabies, he set up a permanent medical camp there. But this is not enough until the federal and provincial agencies are involved in this drive, he observed. It may be mentioned that scabies can quickly spread and people in close contact can contract it easily. Scabies can spread direct skin-to-skin contact, such as touching a person who has scabies. In rare cases, scabies can also spread by contact with patients clothes, towels, bedding, and other personal items that were recently in contact with an infected person.