An outbreak of scabies at a Chicago daycare and preschool has affected at least two dozen people, as school officials hope to avoid temporarily closing the school to prevent the spread of the parasite.
The mites responsible for scabies create an itchy skin infestation by burrowing into the top layer of skin, where they lay their eggs. People with scabies often have a telltale rash marked by red, raised bumps that typically appear along the wrists, elbow, armpits, between the fingers, nipples, penis, waist, and buttocks. In infants and young children, the head, face, neck, palms, and soles of the feet may also be affected. Once an individual is exposed to the parasite they can spread scabies. Symptoms may take 4 to 6 weeks to appear in someone who has never before been infected with scabies. For those who have had previous scabies infections, symptoms can appear in as little as 1 to 4 days. Scabies mites are highly contagious and spread easily though close and frequent contact and in crowded conditions, leaving childcare facilities particularly prone to such outbreaks.