• 55°

Scabies reported at school

Elizabeth Jamerson

A letter went home to parents Thursday afternoon explaining that several cases of scabies have been reported at Cumberland Elementary School.

According to the letter, scabies is a contagious infestation of the skin caused by a mite. The infection can be transmitted by direct skin-to skin contact between people. Additionally, scabies can be spread via bedding or clothing as the mites can live on surfaces for anywhere between 24-48 hours.

The letter noted that scabies is not typically spread through casual contact like hugs or handshakes.

Cumberland County Public Schools Director of Human Resources Elizabeth Jamerson stated that the scabies was affecting a limited number of students and only at the elementary school; No cases were reported at the middle school or high school.

The letter noted that The Piedmont Health District will be working with the school to help identify cases and prevent spread to others.

“Once you have three cases, then you follow the guidelines issued by the Department of Health,” Jamerson said. “We have been working very closely with the Department of Health. We had a sheet of what to look for, so we’ve given that to all of our teachers so that they know if there’s any symptoms to refer the students to the nurse. We had both our nurses at the elementary school yesterday so that they could help out.”

“Last night we called in additional staff so that we could do some thorough cleaning last night. We have instructed all of our bus drivers just to be on the safe side. They are all disinfecting our buses. We have plans to clean again over the weekend,” Jamerson added.

According to the letter sent home to parents, symptoms of scabies include pimple-like irritations and skin rashes, especially in skin folds. A person infected with scabies may also experience intense itching, especially at night. Children who scratch at these itches may develop sores on the body that can become infected with bacteria.

The letter also explained that scabies can often look like poison ivy or poison oak and may be accompanied by blisters and dry, flaky skin.

“We are following all of the guidelines issued by the department of health and we are doing a deep cleaning and disinfecting,” Jamerson assured.

Parents or other individuals that have general questions about scabies can contact Rhonda Pruitt at the Piedmont Health District Office at (434) 392 3984 ext. 145.