Richmond memory care facility hit by scabies outbreak - FOX Carolina 21

Richmond memory care facility hit by scabies outbreak

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They're tiny pests that can cause more than a headache. Now a Richmond assisted living facility is battling a scabies scare.

More than a dozen residents at a Richmond center for Alzheimer's patients have come down with serious symptoms. It happened right after a resident and employee tested positive for scabies.

Health leaders are working closely with staff and residents at Windsor Memory Care after multiple cases of scabies caused major concerns. It's an infestation of a tiny, annoying pest that no one saw coming at the center.

"Anybody can easily catch it and spread it amongst anybody without anybody knowing," one worker said.

He does not want to be identified but has serious concerns. Because of his job, he fears his health is on the line.

"It requires you to do a lot of one-on-one contact. A lot of bathing, a lot of feeding, and a lot of changing clothes. You can come into very close contact of catching the disease with the person you're working with," the worker said.

Health leaders confirm scabies often hits institutions where people come into close contact with others for prolonged periods of time.

"Patients will have trouble sleeping, they will feel itchy all night. They will be squirming around here and there. And that itching will be entire body. The whole body will itch," David Gaines with the Virginia Department of Health said. 

"Our staff is wearing gowns and gloves in accordance with CDC guidelines. In addition we have contacted all of our hospice providers so they can take appropriate action to protect their staff who have recently provided services to our residents," Windsor Memory Care's Susan Coppage said.

Scabies can actually live inside of a person for months. You can still feel the symptoms for quite some time even after being treated.

"The itching will continue. So you may take the treatment, kill all the scabies mites that are in your skin but you'll itch for another month afterwards," Gaines said.

That's why experts say it can't be taken lightly.

Coppage says they are doing all they can to get through this situation and the Health Department says it is partnering with them to make sure the matter is resolved.  The condition can only be treated by medication prescribed by a doctor.

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