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Scabies Outbreak Concerns Care Facility Staff

Scabies Outbreak Concerns Care Facility Staff

POSTED October 11, 2013 2:45 p.m.


Staff at Oak Valley Hospital’s Oak Valley Care Center has confirmed they are taking precautionary measures for an outbreak of scabies at the facility.

“We’ve had one confirmed case,” said OVCC Director of Nursing Susan Todd. “We’re following protocol and treating all residents to make sure it doesn’t spread.”

Todd said the scabies case was discovered in one patient on Tuesday, Oct. 8.

“We’ve consulted with our medical staff and infectious disease doctors and are following recommendations,” Todd said.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, scabies are microscopic mites that hide underneath the upper layers of the skin. They cause itching and a pimple-like rash. Only a doctor’s prescription can kill them.

Direct skin-to-skin contact is the mode of transmission of scabies mites. Communicability for scabies is two weeks after the original infestation even with asymptomatic individuals. A patient is no longer considered infectious 24 hours after effective treatment of bathing and application of Permethrin cream to all skin areas from the neck down and under nails.

The CDC advises that elderly and people with weakened immune systems in nursing homes and similar institutional settings may harbor scabies without showing significant itching or visible signs. In such cases, there can be widespread epidemics among patients and health-care workers.

Scabies is not a disease that has to be reported to health officials, so it is unclear if it also has been detected at other locations.

Visitors to Oak Valley Care Center were advised to check in with the nursing staff upon entry to the building and were offered gowns and gloves for personal protection.

Todd did not know how the disease was brought into the facility.

The infected person is being treated and staff has a handle on the spread of infection to others, Todd added.

"I would like to point out that catching scabies in a long term facility of this size and confine the outbreak to one patient shows excellent due diligence among the staff and administration," said OVHD Board Chairman Dan Cummins. "It's for this due diligence that this facility maintains a 5 star rating."

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1 comment
RichardPollack: 6 months, 1 week ago

Scabies mites are transmissible, but mainly by direct and prolonged contact with an infested person or his/her recently used bedding and clothing. Accordingly, preventative treatment makes sense for those who have such contact. Treating all residents, however, is rarely medically justified. Many presumed 'epidemics' of scabies in such facilities are more imagined than real. Cases should, whenever possible, be confirmed by demonstrating a genuine mite in the skin.

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