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Scabies scare at MSP

SIX Spanish-speaking inmates of the Maximum Security Prison (MSP) at Golden Grove were isolated from the general prison population and treated for a suspected outbreak of scabies. Scabies is an infestation of tiny mites burrowing into the skin and laying eggs, all manifested as a skin rash.

It is highly contagious and caused by close human contact including the sharing of clothes, although its early-stage symptoms can be confused with acne or mosquito bites.

Commissioner of Prisons Gerard Wilson confirmed that six Spanish-speaking inmates, speculated as being Venezuelans, were indeed found to have a rash, but it is now being investigated before any diagnosis can be made, whether scabies or something else.

“I understand a big issue is being made out of it. What happened is that on Saturday the serving officer on his normal round observed six Spanish-speaking inmates with a rash. He investigated and decided as a precautionary measure to take them across to the infirmary and isolate them.

“This morning the serving medical officer saw them, took some samples and sent it for testing. So there’s no confirmation that it is scabies.”

The doctor also gave the six men some medication. “When he gets the results he’ll know exactly what it is.” Wilson said the lab-results were expected by today (Tuesday.)

“We have contained them, we have isolated, we gave some medication, and of course will ensure their clothes are washed separately. When we get the results, we’ll know how to treat them.” Asked if the prison usually operates any general precautions against the spread of such a contagious infestation? “Remember you have persons coming in and out of prison all the time. So sometimes a person could come in with scabies and spread it based on the fact that he uses another persons clothes.

“The six Spanish-speaking inmates normally use one another’s clothes, so that could have been spread easily. It is only the Spanish-speaking inmates that got the rash.”

Scabies is treated by a medicated lotion and/or prescription pills, with precautions to stop others getting infested.

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