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Confirmed case of scabies at Chase Elementary

Nov. 2, 2017

Dear Parents and Guardians:

On the night of Nov. 1, we were informed that a student at Emma C. Chase Elementary School has a confirmed case of scabies.

Scabies is an infestation of the skin by an itch mite. These mites burrow under the person’s skin where they live and lay their eggs. The mite is transferred by prolonged skin-to-skin contact with an infected person. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDCP), quick contact with an infected person, such as a handshake or hug will generally not spread the infection; the contact must be prolonged. Sharing articles of clothing with an infected person such as clothing, towels or bedding may also spread the infestation.

Symptoms of scabies include a rash and intense itching. While it is curable, there is no “over the counter” medication. A physician must diagnose scabies, and then prescribe medication in order to heal the infestation. Multiple rounds of treatment may be necessary. All persons in the home of a person diagnosed with scabies must be treated in order to eradicate the infestation.

Below is some information from the CDC. You may also visit their website at www.cdc.gov and search for “scabies” to learn more information.

If you have any concerns, or if your child shows any symptoms of scabies, please contact your health care provider. If you have any questions, please feel free to call Sullivan County Public Health Services at 845-292-5910.

SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS
The primary symptom of scabies is severe itching, which often is so bad that it keeps people awake at night. The itching is caused as the female mite burrows into the skin, lays eggs, and produces toxins that cause allergic reactions. Small red bumps (that look like tiny pimples or tiny bites) can form on the skin.
The most common area for scabies to develop on the body are warmer sites such as skin folds, areas where clothing is tight (like the belt line or the buttocks), on the penis or around the nipples.
Excessive scratching may lead to bacterial infections of the skin in people who have scabies.

HOW SOON AFTER INFESTATION DO SYMPTOMS OCCUR?
If a person has never had scabies before, symptoms may take as long as 4-6 weeks to begin. It is important to remember that an infested person can spread scabies during this time, even if he/she does not have symptoms yet.
In a person who has had scabies before, symptoms usually appear much sooner (1-4 days) after exposure.

DIAGNOSIS
Scabies is diagnosed when a doctor looks at the rash on your skin to determine whether or not you have mites, eggs or fecal matter from the mites under your skin.

TREATMENT
Scabies is treated with a lotion that is applied to a clean body and the lotion must be left on for eight hours, usually overnight, and then washed off. The person must put on clean clothes. All clothing, bedding and towels used by the people in the home should be washed in hot water and dried in a hot dryer. Seven to ten days after this, a second treatment of the body with the same lotion is usually given. Although itching may continue for two weeks after the treatments, it does not mean the infestation is still active. Another option is a pill, ivermectin, which is as effective as the creams and does not make a mess. The medicine is given twice over a week.

HOW DID I GET SCABIES?
Scabies usually is spread by direct, prolonged, skin-to-skin contact with a person who has scabies. Contact generally must be prolonged; a quick handshake or hug usually will not spread scabies. Scabies is spread easily to sexual partners and household members. Scabies in adults frequently is sexually acquired. Scabies sometimes is spread indirectly by sharing articles such as clothing, towels, or bedding used by an infested person; however, such indirect spread can occur much more easily when the infested person has crusted scabies.