Scabies Outbreak in Texas Middle School

University of Iowa

It was no April Fool’s Day joke when a South Texas middle school sent home letters about a scabies outbreak on April 1. The Harlandale Independent School District (ISD) in San Antonio announced that there were five confirmed cases of scabies at Terrell Wells Middle School that erupted over recent weeks.

According to KSAT-12, four students and one adult tested positive for the highly communicable miserable microscopic mite that burrows under the top layer of skin where it lays its eggs. That female can lay up to 25 eggs, quickly turning into an infestation marked by open festering sores or crusted skin. The most common symptom of scabies is excruciating itching and a blistering pimple-like red rash that, initially, can be mistaken for acne, mosquito bites, lice or even bed bugs.

The letter from the district advised parents that the campus was following all guidelines from the state and the health board to stop the scabies from spreading further such as cleaning the classrooms thoroughly each day, avoiding skin contact, and frequent hand washing, even wearing gloves if needed.

Harlandale ISD disinfected the school on Monday evening, March 30. They also made rob0-calls to alert parents. A nurse practitioner from University Health System was also on campus during the school week to assist with any newly reported cases, according to KSAT-12.

District spokeswoman Leslie Garza told KENS-5 that the first case was confirmed before Spring Break, two more were confirmed on the week of March 23 and the last two cases, on Tuesday, March 31.

She did not indicate if they knew why the scabies broke out at the school, although she did not believe that the cases were connected to the school “except that they all go to the same school.”

Additionally, Garza told WOAI 4 San Antonio that the infected students were in different grades and did not share the same circle of friends. She added, “this isn’t an outbreak it’s just a cluster of cases.”

In an email, she indicated that the district has been responding to the scabies on a case-by-case basis, following the guidelines set by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and referring diagnosed cases to doctors.

“The students are able to return to school after treatment has begun,” Garza said.

Scabies is curable but requires the use of a prescription pill or cream. The affected person has to wash all clothes, bedding and towels in hot water since the mites can live up to three days on the surface of these items.

In speaking to WOAI-4, she downplayed the mysterious appearance of pesky parasites by comparing them to head lice, “something we deal with every year.”

The CDC website provides information on the parasite. It states that the scabies mite usually is spread by direct, prolonged, skin-to-skin contact with a person who has the condition. It tends to spread like wildfire in crowded conditions where there is close body contact. They cited nursing homes, extended-care facilities, and prisons as the common locations where scabies eruptions have occurred.

Last summer, Breitbart Texas and Breitbart California reported repeatedly on the alarming number of scabies contracted by border patrol and cases of it that were brought into the country by the overwhelming human flood of Central American undocumented alien minors and adults illegally crossing into the United States through the southern border.

In late July, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) confirmed the high incidences of communicable diseases like scabies spreading throughout the detention centers that housed the illegal immigrants, which Breitbart News reported.

Follow Merrill Hope on Twitter @OutOfTheBoxMom.