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'No Concern' Over Scabies Spreading To More Schools

By NICO SCAVELLA

Tribune Staff Reporter

nscavella@tribunemedia.net

EDUCATION Director Lionel Sands yesterday said the Ministry of Education has “no concerns” over scabies possibly spreading to more schools in the country.

Mr Sands confirmed that the North Andros High School has had one confirmed case of scabies, but he said that situation has since been dealt with by public health officials.

Mr Sands’ comments come two weeks after he confirmed that D W Davis and T A Thompson schools had to be temporarily closed for extermination efforts to begin after some students tested positive for the infection.

Cases were also reported in the TG Glover Primary and Woodcock Primary schools.

However, Mr Sands told The Tribune yesterday that public health officials had not indicated any new cases of the infection in any schools throughout the country.

“I’m comfortable that whatever challenges we have found in our schools of a health nature, the authorities are dealing with it as far as we’re concerned, expeditiously and to the best of their abilities, so we have no real concerns,” he said. “To my knowledge, one school in Andros had a confirmed case, but it was dealt with by the Department of Public Health.”

He added: “All of the cases that came to us have been dealt with by the Department of Public Health.”

Earlier this month Mr Sands announced that extermination efforts were underway at D W Davis after education officials confirmed five cases of scabies at the school.

He did note, however, that the infection was contracted outside of the school’s grounds, and not within.

A day later, Mr Sands confirmed that for the second time that week a school would start extermination efforts after a student tested positive for scabies.

Education officials said that operations at T A Thompson would be suspended and students would be screened after administrators identified that a student at the school had the infection.

The T A Thompson student is a sibling of a student at D W Davis, who had tested positive for scabies several days earlier.

According to Mr Sands, in addition to that one confirmed case, there were several suspected cases at the school.

The following week, however, Mr Sands said he expected the schools affected by the scabies outbreak to return to normal.

At that point, public health officials had tested 2,000 students from the D W Davis, T A Thompson, T G Glover and Woodcock Primary schools for the disease within a week.

Scabies is caused by a tiny mite, which can cause an intense itching sensation.

It is classified by the World Health Organisation (WHO) as a water-related disease that may be transmitted from objects.

It is usually transmitted by direct skin-to-skin contact, with a higher risk with prolonged contact.

Last week, Chief Medical Officer Dr Glen Beneby said it is up to the public to prevent the spread of scabies and the influenza virus.

Speaking during the opening ceremony of the government’s Ebola training forum, Dr Beneby said that in addition to health officials “beefing up surveillance efforts”, the public is key in preventing the spread of both ailments by practising good hygiene.

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