Scabies reported at correctional center

Published 4:30 pm Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Inmates in several different housing units at the Buckingham Correctional Center are being treated for scabies, according to officials with the Virginia Department of Health and the Virginia Department of Corrections.

Gregory Carter with the Virginia Department of Corrections confirmed that cases of scabies have been reported at the center and said all those at the center are being treated.

“A small number of offenders have confirmed cases but we are treating all of the offenders and following Department of Health protocols,” Carter said Friday. “Porous items have to be quarantined for seven days. Fabrics are being sent to another facility to be washed in industrial, hospital-grade washers.”

Email newsletter signup

Visitation at the center was canceled for the weekend of Aug. 10-11 due to the outbreak.

Dr. Robert Nash with the Virginia Department of Health Piedmont District, which covers Buckingham County, said that numbers of those affected by outbreaks can change on a daily basis due to how rapidly the number of those affected by contagious conditions can change. On Friday, the Department reported that scabies affected nine inmates in five different housing units.

The first case was reported July 20. It was officially diagnosed on Aug. 6, Nash said.

Carter said that there were 10 suspected cases but that only one case has been confirmed as scabies.

Scabies, according to documentation by the Virginia Department of Health, is a type of mite that can be spread through direct-to-skin contact or indirect transfers through undergarments, sheets and blankets.

Symptoms of scabies are intense itching, especially at night and a pimple-like itchy rash. The areas of the skin most often affected include the webbing between the fingers, wrists, elbows, armpits, waist, buttocks, genitals, nipples and shoulder blades. According to the Virginia Department of Health, people with scabies can also develop skin infections from scratching the rash. Signs of skin infection include redness, warmth, pain, tenderness, swelling, and pus at the site of infection.

According to the Virginia Department of Health, the diagnosis was confirmed by a dermatologist via a skin scraping and microscopic examination.

Prior to the diagnosis, those affected were treated by the center with Benadryl, calamine lotion and cortisone cream.

Following the diagnosis, the Virginia Department of Health officials cited that the center would order enough Permethrin for everyone in the facility, which the Virginia Department of Health cited to be approximately 1,100 people. Permethrin is an anti-parasite treatment used for scabies and lice.

Carter confirmed that the offender population at the center was 1,126.

Buckingham Correctional Center was also the subject of concern from residents recently as it was found to be among 18 facilities in Virginia confirmed to not have been built with a climate controlled air conditioning system during a time when temperatures swelled to more than 100 degrees.

Virginia Department of Corrections personnel cited that those at the facilities were receiving ice, additional fans and water in response to the rising temperatures.