HAYS, Kan. — Fort Hays State University has confirmed three cases of students with scabies, which is a skin parasite. Scabies usually is passed by direct, prolonged skin-to-skin contact with an infested person.
The university is identifying others who may have been exposed to scabies.
The condition is treatable with a prescription ointment. Treatment is being arranged for everyone who might be affected. Appropriate steps are being taken to clean affected areas and materials, such as clothing, bedding and towels, that can harbor the parasite.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:
Human scabies is caused by an infestation of the skin by the human itch mite (Sarcoptes scabiei). The microscopic scabies mite burrows into the upper layer of the skin where it lives and lays its eggs. The most common symptoms of scabies are intense itching and a pimple-like skin rash. The scabies mite usually is spread by direct, prolonged, skin-to-skin contact with a person who has scabies.
Scabies occurs worldwide and affects people of all races and social classes. Scabies can spread rapidly under crowded conditions where close body contact is frequent. Institutions such as nursing homes, extended-care facilities and prisons are often sites of scabies outbreaks.
Northwest Kansas Technical College in Goodland had an outbreak of scabies last week and temporarily closed the campus. However, Ellis County Public Health Administrator Butch Schlyer advised this morning that it would be sufficient to treat affected individuals and that it was not necessary to close the FHSU campus.
Individuals infested with scabies remain infectious for about eight hours after treatment and should not come into direct contact with other people during that period.
Informational meetings for students will be conducted at 7 tonight in the main lobby of Agnew Hall and at 8 in the Red Room at Wiest Hall.
Any FHSU students, faculty or staff who think they might have scabies should contact the Student Health Center or their personal doctor.