28 confirmed cases of scabies among Prince George’s Co. firefighters

After more than 200 Prince George’s County, Maryland, firefighters were screened for scabies, the number of confirmed cases has increased from 20 to 28.

Prince George’s County Fire/EMS officials said the affected firefighters are from 13 different firehouses.

Fire/EMS Spokesman Michael Yourishin said that the affected stations were professionally cleaned, including all apparatus assigned to those stations. “Any ambulance that may have had an exposure was given the same top-to-bottom cleaning the station received” as well, he said.

Prince George’s County Deputy Health Officer Dr. Jacquelyn Duval-Harvey said the most common way to transmit scabies is through extended skin-to-skin contact.

She said that shared bedding, towels and clothing should be cleaned as well, in a washing machine’s hot cycle, followed by drying on the dryer’s highest setting.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that brief contact, such as handshakes or hugs, will not spread scabies.

“If you see any evidence of a rash that’s itchy and blotchy, get it checked out,” Duval-Harvey said. She said the scabies rash is typically raised and may look like small pimples.

Treatment often consists of a prescription cream that must be applied all over the body, from the neck down.

“The course of treatment is about eight to 16 hours,” she said. The itching may not disappear completely for two to four weeks after initial treatment.

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