September 20, 2019

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Scabies outbreak at Deer Lodge Centre

KEN GIGLIOTTI / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS FILES</p><p>Deer Lodge Centre is reported to have its second scabies outbreak in four months.</p>

KEN GIGLIOTTI / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS FILES

Deer Lodge Centre is reported to have its second scabies outbreak in four months.

Deer Lodge Centre is dealing with its second scabies outbreak in four months, which has some relatives of elderly residents in the affected area figuratively scratching their heads.

"Why, again, on (the fifth floor)? What's going on?" asked a woman whose parent lives on the affected floor in Manitoba's largest rehabilitation and long-term facility.

In mid-May, the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority said it had eight confirmed cases of scabies among residents at the 431-bed centre. An outbreak is defined as two or more cases in the same facility.

On Thursday, the parasites were back.

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Deer Lodge Centre is dealing with its second scabies outbreak in four months, which has some relatives of elderly residents in the affected area figuratively scratching their heads.

"Why, again, on (the fifth floor)? What's going on?" asked a woman whose parent lives on the affected floor in Manitoba's largest rehabilitation and long-term facility.

In mid-May, the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority said it had eight confirmed cases of scabies among residents at the 431-bed centre. An outbreak is defined as two or more cases in the same facility.

On Thursday, the parasites were back.

"The WRHA can confirm a scabies outbreak was declared this week at Deer Lodge Centre," a statement from the health authority said. "To this point, there has been one confirmed case and three suspected cases."

Once mites are present on a person, they spread rapidly. They don't jump from one person to another, but are spread through skin-to-skin contact with an infested person, or indirect contact with their personal belongings (such as shared towels or bedding, clothing), or through crowded living quarters, institutions, and personal care facilities. The mites can burrow beneath the skin in less than three minutes.

Deer Lodge Centre took immediate action and standard contact precautions, and "outbreak management measures have been implemented and are being followed," the WRHA said.

"It's the same situation as before," said the woman whose her parent and others on the affected floor were prevented from participating in group activities for nearly two months during the last outbreak. She said she found out about the return of scabies this week, when a caregiver she hired to tend to her parent told her about the latest outbreak.

"All of a sudden, they can't go to bingo or on an outing," she said. "They're stuck on their ward with zero to do — no physiotherapy, no outings. Nothing. It will be at least another six weeks if not longer.

"This is unacceptable."

The WRHA said it's doing everything it can to prevent scabies, while noting it's not uncommon in institutional settings.

"While every precaution is taken to prevent such outbreaks, unfortunately, scabies is a common occurrence in facilities and institutions across Canada and is not reflective of the care and services provided at the site impacted by such an outbreak."

carol.sanders@freepress.mb.ca

Carol Sanders

Carol Sanders
Reporter

Carol Sanders’ reporting on newcomers to Canada has made international headlines, earned national recognition but most importantly it’s shared the local stories of the growing diversity of people calling Manitoba home.

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