Hospital Scabies Outbreak Kanawha County

Special to HuntingtonNews.Net

CHARLESTON, WV (HNN) - On January 6, 2011, a scabies outbreak at a local hospital was reported in Kanawha County.

Initial verbal reports from the Epidemiology staff at this hospital to staff epidemiologists at Kanawha-Charleston Health Department (KCHD) indicated 18 staff members with a rash-like illness, and updated verbal communication from the hospital has identified about 12 additional staff members and 1 patient with suspicious rashes.  At this time, one staff member’s skin scraping has been lab confirmed as scabies.

Investigation into this outbreak is ongoing and involves treatment of all suspected rash illnesses and prophylaxis of contacts with direct, prolonged, skin-to-skin contact.  These contacts may include patients, healthcare workers, and household members.  At this time, KCHD is working with the hospital staff to obtain more updated information.

KCHD requests that medical providers consider the diagnosis of scabies when evaluating patients with rash illnesses.  Suspected cases of scabies should be evaluated for infestation and treated with an appropriate scabicide. Scabies is highly contagious and infested persons may spread mites for up to 6 weeks before becoming symptomatic.  All household members and other potentially exposed persons should be treated at the same time as the infested person, to prevent possible re-exposure and re-infestation.


Bedding, clothing, and towels used by infested persons or their household, sexual, and close contacts anytime during the three days before treatment, should be decontaminated by washing in hot water and drying in a hot dryer, by dry-cleaning, or by sealing in a plastic bag for at least 72 hours. Scabies mites generally do not survive more than 2 to 3 days away from human skin. Use of insecticide sprays and fumigants is not recommended.

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