Gulf Coast Medical Center is now taking preventative measures to stop the spread of an itchy skin condition known as scabies that's affected patients and employees there.
The latest reports from Gulf Coast administrators finds a couple dozen employees have now contracted scabies. Administrators say the outbreak is not isolated to their hospital alone, but is instead a problem throughout the community.
"Gulf Coast Medical Center has been in the news lately, but truly this is a community problem. We've admitted four patients with scabies that came from area nursing homes," says Edy Rivard, Gulf Coast Medical Center's Administrative Director.
Rivard says she wouldn't be surprised if Bay Medical Center was not affected by the skin condition, and in fact, bay medical center does have one patient admitted with scabies, but administrators there say that patient has been isolated from other patients and employees and no one has contracted it.
Scabies are microscopic mites that lays eggs under your skin. The symptoms include severe itching, particularly at night. Sores or a rash may not appear until four to six weeks after contraction. Scabies can only be spread through direct contact, and usually causes a rash or allergic reaction.
Rivard says Gulf Coast is going above and beyond their basic protocols to ensure no one else contracts scabies.
"We're using contact isolation, which means all employees are wearing gloves and gowns to treat every patient. This will ensure every patient and every employee is protected," Rivard says.”
If you think you have scabies make sure you avoid close contact with those around you if you think you have scabies. There is no over-the-counter medication to treat the condition, so if your symptoms persist for more than four days, call your doctor.