Rapid control of a scabies outbreak at a tertiary care hospital without ward closure.

Link to article at PubMed

Rapid control of a scabies outbreak at a tertiary care hospital without ward closure.

Am J Infect Control. 2011 Aug 24;

Authors: Khan A, O'Grady S, Muller MP

BACKGROUND: Although scabies outbreaks in hospitals are frequent, the optimal approach to management of these outbreaks has not yet been defined. We describe a hospital scabies outbreak that was successfully controlled without ward closure. METHODS: An outbreak of scabies at a teaching hospital and subsequent control measures were investigated. Outcomes included the number of cases affecting patients and staff, number of patients and staff requiring prophylaxis, duration of the outbreak, and cost of the outbreak. Outcomes were compared with those in a similar outbreak occurring at the same hospital 20 years earlier and with other published descriptions of hospital scabies outbreaks. RESULTS: In January 2010, a patient who had undergone renal transplantation was admitted 3 times to St. Michael's Hospital, but a diagnosis of scabies was not considered until the final admission. Widespread exposure of patients and staff on 2 wards prompted the establishment of an outbreak management team. Initial interventions focused on isolation and treatment of the index case and on contact tracing to identify and treat secondary cases and to offer prophylaxis to direct contacts. Five symptomatic staff members and 2 patient cases were quickly identified, an outbreak was declared, and mass simultaneous prophylaxis was initiated on the 2 involved wards. A single case occurred 2 weeks after the mass prophylaxis program in a staff member who had not received the prophylaxis. Six weeks after the onset of symptoms, the end of the outbreak was declared. No additional cases have been reported up to the time of publication. The total cost of the outbreak was $20,000. CONCLUSIONS: Early recognition of crusted scabies is essential to prevent outbreaks. Once an outbreak occurs, prompt control of the index patient and rapid tracing of contacts to identify secondary cases are necessary. When prolonged exposure to a case of crusted scabies results in multiple secondary cases, institution of simultaneous mass prophylaxis is the most efficient strategy for terminating the outbreak and can be implemented without ward closure.

PMID: 21868131 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]

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