Managing scabies outbreak at AMC

Released 13/09/2012

ACT Chief Health Officer, Dr Paul Kelly today said that several cases of scabies have been reported among detainees and staff at the AMC in the past several weeks and a public health intervention to manage it has begun.

"Scabies is an infectious skin condition which is common in the community but can spread rapidly through institutions where a large number of people live in close contact. As at 12 September 2012, 17 cases have been identified," Dr Kelly said.

"The Action Plan for managing the scabies outbreak will make sure staff or detainees with signs or symptoms will be assessed and treated by the Hume Health Centre. All contacts of cases will be assessed and treated too.

"Contacts which included all detainees at AMC and any staff that had regular contact with detainees were treated last night," Dr Kelly said.

"An ongoing surveillance plan will also be developed and implemented at the Hume Health Centre to monitor for new cases in the coming week.

"If further cases are identified, the Scabies Management Group will consider further interventions.

"Visits to the AMC have continued as per normal processes and visitors to the AMC have been provided with fact sheets, and signs have been placed in the visitor's reception area alerting them to the outbreak," Dr Kelly said.

If someone is suspected of having scabies they should be treated appropriately and isolated for 24 hours after the commencement of the treatment. Treatment should then be repeated again after 7 days.

"Scabies is not a notifiable condition and there are no national guidelines for the management of individual cases or outbreaks.

"Based on available information regarding the management of scabies, this approach is consistent with any intervention or treatment that would be implemented in a community setting or other residential facility," Dr Kelly concluded. 


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