I came across this ‘harmless’ article that was simply sharing about the closure of a children zoo in Gothenburg (the second largest city in Sweden). What caught me was the headline “Animal ‘eczema’ closes Gothenburg kids’ zoo“. I know that animals get eczema but I’m curious about the inverted commas. So I read on and the writing below both infuriated and saddened me:
A statement on the park’s website added that vets had taken samples from the lambs and goats and were currently waiting for test results. Staff suspect that the animals have contracted a skin disease similar to eczema that can be passed between animals and humans and vice versa.
… one of the vets working at the zoo told the TT news agency that humans symptoms would include “sores and blisters on hands”.
I know the writer of the article was probably saying that the appearance of the rash looked similar to eczema and it was suspected that it could be pass on to humans. However, one could easily misread it as the skin disease was similar to eczema which is contagious.
Eczema is not contagious (PERIOD).
It saddened me because so many children and their parents all over the world are already struggling to manage the eczema in school. Apart from the difficulty of implementing a skincare routine in school, tacking the social impacts of eczema is also an uphill task. Schoolmates may think the eczema rash is contagious especially if the eczema child has rashes on the face, arms or legs, constantly scratching and the rash looks like it’s spreading on some days (flare-ups). Eczema children get shunned because they are feared to infect others. Their parents face a difficult task of explaining eczema to the teachers and getting the school to communicate with the students. We don’t need any news article to possibly further fuel the wrong notion that eczema is contagious, IT’S NOT!
I’ve emailed the online paper to request if they can amend their writing, will update when I hear from them.