Three Statesboro High School students were diagnosed this week with scabies, an infestation of mites that burrow underneath the skin. As of Wednesday, the school nurse had seen 20 students "with evidence of" scabies or who have been in contact with someone with scabies, said Hayley Greene, spokesperson for the Bulloch County school system.
Only three students, who are all friends, were diagnosed by a doctor as having scabies, but the other students, who also socialized closely with the three, were examined as well, she said.
"Each of these students has been sent home with instructions to follow up with a doctor and the proper treatment," she said.
Greene said there was "no epidemic" of scabies in the school, but there are precautions one may take to avoid getting the parasites.
"All students are encouraged to avoid prolonged skin-to-skin contact and do not share clothing or bed linens. The condition can be spread in any area where people gather like your home, day care centers or college dorm rooms."
According to the Center of Disease Control (www.cdc.gov), "Human scabies is caused by an infestation of the skin by the human itch mite. The microscopic scabies mite burrows into the upper layer of the skin where it lives and lays its eggs. The most common symptoms of scabies are intense itching and a pimple-like skin rash. The scabies mite usually is spread by direct, prolonged, skin-to-skin contact with a person who has scabies. Scabies occurs worldwide and affects people of all races and social classes. "
As a precaution, Statesboro High School "is following proper district protocol for health conditions," Greene said. "Our school nurse is monitoring our student population, and we have communicated this information with our lead district nurse, who is our liaison with the Bulloch County Health Department."
More information about the parasites is posted on the school website, https://shs-bcss-ga.schoolloop.com, she said.