Scabies outbreak reported at Kettering hospital

UPDATE @ 3:53 p.m. (Jan. 30):

Officials confirm 86 Kettering Health employess have now been diagnosed with scabies, according to Elizabeth Long, spokesperson for Kettering Health Network.


At least 68 employees at Kettering Medical Center have been diagnosed and treated for scabies, which causes intense itching and a pimple-like skin rash and is transmitted by the human itch mite, hospital officials confirmed Monday.

The infections were detected about two weeks ago, according to Liz Long, a Kettering spokeswoman, who said infected employees — including nurses and other medical staff — and will not be allowed back at work until they are cleared as no longer contagious.

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Scabies — caused by an infestation of the skin by the human itch mite, which burrow into the upper layer of the skin where they live and lay eggs — can be cleared up in a few days with the current recommended treatments, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), but itching may persist up to two to four weeks.

The hospital outbreak was traced back to one patient, Long said: “We had a patient who had crusted scabies, which is a highly contagious form of scabies, at Kettering Medical Center, and apparently it was transmitted to some of our employees.”

So far, no other patients have been diagnosed with the disease, which is not life-threatening, Long said. Still, the incubation period for the disease can last up to six weeks, so new cases may still emerge since they were first detected, she acknowledged.

Scabies, which is common in nursing homes and extended-care facilities, and is usually spread by direct, prolonged, skin-to-skin contact with a person who has scabies, according to the CDC. But the disease was also spread at Kettering by objects that were infested with itch mites, Long said.

As a result, Kettering has contracted with an outside company to conduct a deep cleaning of the entire hospital, Long said.


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