Experts described scabies as an infestation of the skin by parasites like mites. (Courtesy: Centers for Disease Control)
Scabies infestation occurs when female mites are transferred from the skin of an infected person to another. (Courtesy of Dr. Dalia Wachs)
While regarded as a nuisance disease, outbreaks can be costly. (Courtesy of Dr. Dalia Wachs)
A female mite typically deposits two to three eggs in a narrow tunnel in the skin. (Courtesy of Dr. Dalia Wachs)
LAS VEGAS (FOX5) -
Several students are being treated for scabies, an infestation of the skin by the human itch mite, at Lomie Heard Elementary on Nellis Air Force Base, according to a letter released to parents Tuesday. Read the letter here.
The microscopic scabies 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. The most common symptoms of scabies are intense itching and a pimple-like skin rash, the CDCP website says.
"The students who had scabies are under a doctor's care and will not return to school until medical release is granted," a letter from Heard Elementary Principal Kori Deal states.
The Clark County School District told FOX5 multiple children from multiple classes showed up in the nurse's office at Heard Elementary Tuesday morning complaining of itchy skin.
The school will be sanitized nightly through Saturday.
"They're going to do the whole school," said Diana Taylor, CCSD's director of heath services. "Not just classrooms where it was found, they're going to do the whole school. They're using a germicidal detergent and vacuuming."
Because scabies is not life-threatening, the school will not be closed down.
"This is something we don't need to close down the school for because we want kids to be in school, and since it is treatable, we want kids to be treated and come back," Taylor said.
On Wednesday night Nellis Air Force Base estimated about 150 people have been treated for rashes consistent with scabies at the Mike O'Callaghan Federal Medical Center.
Two parents sent notes of concern to FOX5 on Facebook.
"They are trying to say several students but the base hospital said they had about 40 there this morning and there are TONS more who thought they had ant bites - turns out it is scabies," one parent said. "The school does not seem to be doing anything about it other than sending home a letter and spraying."
Parents are urged to check with the Southern Nevada Health District for answers to questions about scabies, here.
Copyright 2012 KVVU (KVVU Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.
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