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Wed, Feb 04

Where itching comes from

Semanza lived in the Rukungiri region of rural Uganda. He suffered such unbearable itching that continuous scratching with his fingernails did not afford him even temporary relief. His solution was to break a clay pot and use the rough edge of one of its pieces as a scratching tool. Eventually his skin became severely damaged and infected with bacteria. Years of relentless itching and scratching had left it so calloused that syringe needles could not penetrate it. Moses Katabarwa, an epidemiologist and health worker who met Semanza in 1992, said that his skin appeared to be covered in dried mud. No one from his village wanted to be hear him, and so Semanza, shunned, lived in a small hut behind his family’s home.

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