Wee bitty BABIES and their wee bitty SCABIES

You never want to see the words babies and scabies in the same sentence.  That's why I added 'wee bitty' so as to add as much distance as possible between them.  Come to think of it, you don't actually ever want to see scabies in a sentence - ewey ewey

In the May 2011 ICHE, investigators at New York-Presbyterian Hospital describe what appears to be the first reported scabies outbreak in a newborn nursery.  You can imagine that the typical 4-6 week incubation period seen with first exposure coupled with the fact that babies typically go straight to the nursery without leaving the hospital, keeps at least detectable scabies out of newborn nurseries.

In 2007 there were three cases of scabies over 3 months in infants born at the hospital, which were recognized by a pediatric dermatologist. Extensive investigation identified 7 additional cases including 3 NICU babies. And the cause was:

The team identified that one per diem nurse, had contributed to 10 of the 10 electronic medical records examined. Upon evaluation, she was noted to have a rash and wore a noticeably dirty compression glove for lymphedema while on duty, making it impossible for her to clean her hands effectively. She also reported that she had been treated for scabies at least 5 times in the previous year. During the same 7-month period as the cluster, she reported that she also worked in a Florida hospital’s nursery. The staff at the Florida hospital stated that they had identified a cluster of scabies in infants in their institution also.

At NYP Hospital, they found that this nurse had cared for 392 patients including mothers and a letter was sent to each patient describing the outbreak investigation. This process identified 3 additional cases. I agree with their conclusion that "a single case of scabies in a newborn should be considered a sentinel event of a nursery outbreak.

Ross BG et al. ICHE May 2011


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