Health officials warn of scabies

Health officials in Lowndes County are warning you about the contagious skin infection called scabies.

They're seeing an increase in patients coming into the health department.

They urge you to take precautions and know the symptoms.

It's itchy, red, and contagious. Health officials say they're seeing an increase in scabies cases and some people have been treated for the infestation in Lowndes County.

"You're going to know if you have it," said Rachel Franklin, the South Health District Epidemiologist.

Health officials say it's not an outbreak but they're warning folks about the symptoms, precautions, and what to do if you get it.

"The scabies mite gets under your skin and it just causes intense itching, always worse at night because you're laying in bed thinking about it," said Franklin.

They say if you've been around someone who has scabies, you should go ahead and get treated.

Scabies thrives in areas where they're could be skin to skin contact.

"scabies usually when we do have cases are where people are close together nursing homes, long term care facilities, prisons, daycares," said Franklin.

So be aware of scabies and take precautions to protect yourself.

Health officials say the patients they've seen are adults.

Here's a press release released by South Health District:

Due to recent reports and inquiries, Public Health Officials in South Georgia caution the public to be aware of the possibility of scabies in your community.

Human scabies is caused by an infestation of the skin by the human itch mite. The mite burrows into the upper layer of the skin where it lives and lays its eggs. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the most common symptoms of scabies are intense itching and pimple-like skin rash. It is spread by direct, prolonged, skin-to-skin contact with an infected person.

"It is likely that symptoms will not appear for over a month for persons who have never had scabies before," states Rachel Franklin, MPH, District Epidemiologist. "However, symptoms will start to appear within 1 to 4 days for persons that have had scabies in the past."

Treatment is necessary for a person with scabies, along with anyone that has had extended skin-to-skin contact with that person, such as household members and sexual contacts. A person with scabies can spread the condition before symptoms begin to appear.

Household items such as bedding, clothing, and towels used by a person with scabies should be machine-washed in hot water and dried using the hot cycle. Mites do not survive more than 72 hours away from human skin; therefore, items that cannot be washed with hot water can be decontaminated by having no skin contact for that period of time.

"Although the thought of this is disturbing, scabies is found worldwide and affects people of all races and social classes," says Franklin. "It is not a reflection of your personal cleanliness."

If you believe you have scabies or have been in close contact with an infected individual, contact your health care provider immediately for prompt treatment. More information can found on scabies at or by calling your local health department.

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