Cookeville hospital deals with scabies outbreak

Cookeville hospital deals with scabies outbreak (Image 1)

A Mid-State hospital is dealing with a recent scabies outbreak.

Representatives with Cookeville Regional Medical Center, which serves Upper Cumberland, say at least 44 hospital employees were treated for the highly contagious skin condition.

Forty nine hospital employees did not have symptoms, but were treated as a precaution.

Once the outbreak was detected, the hospital implemented infection preventive measures to stop the spread. They now believe they have the situation under control.

A hospital spokesperson told News 2 it does not appear any other employees have spread the scabies to patients.

According to the CDC, scabies is caused by an infestation of the skin by human itch mites.

Employees contracted the scabies from a patient who came in seeking treatment.

Martha Highers, a registered nurse with the hospital, was diagnosed with scabies after treating the man. “It was red bumps on my arm and then kind of streaking up the streaks were a tale tell sign was tracking because the mites were burrowing,” said Highers.

Hospital representatives say the man who had a severe case of scabies.

He has since been treated.

Experts say scabies is highly contagious, but is treatable and not likely to be deadly.

The Tennessee State Health Department typically gets one to four reports of scabies outbreaks in health care facilities each year. In reality, that number could be higher since health care facilities do not have to report scabies outbreaks. That's because it does not carry disease and is not a public health issue.

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