Hong Kong health officials announced they are investigating a scabies outbreak at a elderly home in Tuen Mun.

Scabies mite/CDC

The outbreak involves six male and 14 female residents aged 73 to 95. They have presented with skin itchiness and rash since May 5. All sought medical attention and none required hospitalization. All patients have been in a stable condition.

The skin scraping of an affected person was confirmed to have Sarcoptes scabiei after laboratory examination.

Centre for Health Protection (CHP) officers  conducted a site visit and advised the elderly home to adopt necessary infection control measures against scabies infections. They have been put under medical surveillance.

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“Scabies is a skin disease caused by a mite called Sarcoptes scabiei and usually spreads through direct skin contact with infested people. Their clothing and bedding may also carry the mites and eggs and transmit the disease. Infested people usually present with intense itchiness. The common affected areas are finger webs, and skin folds of wrists, elbows, armpits, nipples, the lower abdomen, external genitalia, buttocks and groins. It can affect people of all ages, but people with weakened immunity or the elderly are more susceptible. Scabies can spread rapidly in crowded conditions, hence outbreaks of scabies have been reported in hospitals, child-care facilities, hostels and elderly homes,” a spokesman for the CHP said.