Wiesbaden scabies mini-outbreak has been contained to 28 cases
July 25, 2009
WIESBADEN, Germany — The Wiesbaden Health Clinic appears to have contained a mini-outbreak of scabies at the Army airfield.
Since the middle of June, 28 cases of scabies have been diagnosed at the clinic, including 13 found on a single day.
In late June, pharmacists notified clinic officials that large amounts of calamine lotion and antihistamines were being dispensed to soldiers, which lead to the diagnoses of 13 cases of scabies. Health officials said most cases could be linked to soldiers who were taking a two-week class where groups of five sat together at small tables sharing computers and keyboards.
Scabies causes intense itching and rashes as a result of an infestation of the skin by an itch mite, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The mites are usually passed by direct and prolonged skin-to-skin contact with a person who is already infested. The CDC’s Web site says that although scabies can be spread through sexual contact, it also can spread easily under crowded conditions where close contact is common.
People who believe they might be infected must come into the clinic to be diagnosed and treated, said Maj. Steven Knapp, chief of public health at the airfield. Typical treatment is an ointment that is applied once and sometimes again a couple of weeks later.
Symptoms can persist after treatment, usually as a result of an allergic reaction to the scabies mites. Towels, clothing and sheets also should be washed in hot water.
No new diagnoses of scabies have been made at the base in nearly two weeks.