A couple of weeks ago, officials at the Kettering Medical Health System in Ohio announced a scabies outbreak among Kettering Medical Center employees. On Monday, the number had risen to 86.
According to a local media report, not only has that number climbed to 106 cases at Kettering Medical Center, scabies cases have been reported a second Kettering Health Network system hospital.
10 cases of scabies were confirmed at Sycamore Medical Center in Miamisburg, prompting an emergency conference call Wednesday with officials from the hospital system and state and local health authorities.
The Dayton Daily News reports, according to Dan Suffoletto, a spokesman for the health department, who said the outbreaks appear to pose no immediate health threat outside the hospitals.
“Right now the hospitals are taking the appropriate steps to treat those who are infected and contain the scabies,” Suffoletto said
Scabies is caused by an infestation by the eight-legged “itch mite”, Sarcoptes scabiei. The mites burrow into the skin and lay eggs.
These burrows are tiny threadlike projections, ranging from 2 mm-15 mm long that appear as thin gray, brown, or red lines in affected areas. The burrows can be very difficult to see.
Transfer of this mite from person to person typically occurs through prolonged direct contact with infested skin. Transfer from undergarments and bedclothes occur only if these have been contaminated by an infested person immediately beforehand.
Outbreaks have happened in nursing homes and similar institutions, albeit rare.
It may take up to two months for symptoms to appear after initial infestation. Scabies produces skin rash composed of small red bumps and blisters and affects specific areas of the body.
Lesions are prominent around finger webs, wrist and elbows, armpits, belt line, thighs and genitalia of males and nipples, abdomen and buttocks are frequently affected in women. In infants; the head, neck palms and soles may be involved.
Itching is intense, especially at night and complications due to secondary bacterial infections with staph and strep are possible.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend the following to prevent and control scabies:
Scabies is prevented by avoiding direct skin-to-skin contact with an infested person or with items such as clothing or bedding used by an infested person. Scabies treatment usually is recommended for members of the same household, particularly for those who have had prolonged skin-to-skin contact. All household members and other potentially exposed persons should be treated at the same time as the infested person to prevent possible reexposure and reinfestation.
Bedding and clothing worn or used next to the skin anytime during the 3 days before treatment should be machine washed and dried using the hot water and hot dryer cycles or be dry-cleaned. Items that cannot be dry-cleaned or laundered can be disinfested by storing in a closed plastic bag for several days to a week. Scabies mites generally do not survive more than 2 to 3 days away from human skin. Children and adults usually can return to child care, school, or work the day after treatment.