Lakewood Scabies Scare at New Jersey Nursing Home Sparks Caution

Lakewood Scabies Scare at New Jersey Nursing Home Sparks Caution

An elderly woman affected by scabies in nursing homes

Health alerts are always an unfortunate occurrence in the modern era. From E. Coli, Salmonella, or some new strain of flu, many health advisories are a jarring upset of every day living and a reminder to use caution in maintaining personal health and hygiene. More distressing is when a sensitive population, such as children or the elderly are affected. In Ocean County, New Jersey, a Lakewood scabies alert at the Fountain View Care Center was an example of these jarring experiences.

What is Scabies? 

Scabies is a rather uncomfortable skin condition. The result of a parasitic mite known as the American Itch Mite, symptoms include rashes, irritation, and intense itching as the insect burrows into the superficial layers of the skin to inhabit and reproduce.

Certain facilities are more common than others to spread scabies. These areas include day care centers, extended care facilities, nursing homes, and prisons. The chief qualifier for these facilities is that they are areas with typically crowded areas where prolonged contact can easily enable the spread of the disease. One potential reason for the Lakewood scabies outbreak at Fountain View Care Center is that another way to spread the disease is through the use of shared towels, clothes, or bedding.

Timeline of the Lakewood Scabies Outbreak

According to multiple sources, including USA Today’s App.com, the first whispers of the Lakewood scabies outbreak began when the Ocean County Health Department was notified on Feb. 7 about some suspected cases of scabies at the Fountain View Care Center. The state of New Jersey was notified the next day about the potential of a Lakewood scabies outbreak and, in the spirit of caution, the facility separated residents and cleaned the facility.

From that point, NJ.com reports that seven individuals, four residents, and three staff members, were tested for scabies. A few days later, on Feb. 12 and 13, the Fountain View Care Center received seven negative test results, although experts state that the subjects could have contracted the disease in the past. After a short period following the announcement of the results, Ocean County informed the facility it could cease resident isolation practices. The county department of health maintains that the facility has been decontaminated and is maintaining contact with the center. Ocean County Health Department supervisor Jennifer Crawford stated that the last update from the facility on Feb. 21, two weeks after the initial actions were taken, indicated no presence of the Lakewood scabies presence.

Takeaways From The Lakewood Scabies Scare

Though there was no incidence of scabies in the Lakewood scabies scare, there is a teachable moment about the virtues of caution in a nursing home situation. The Ocean County Health Department acted in a very responsible manner, wasting no time and immediately taking measures to ensure that the potential outbreak was contained and managed. At no point in the investigation was the matter questioned or trivialized until there was proof of an absence of scabies and even after, Jennifer Crawford and her department did their due diligence in ensuring that the issue remained handled once the health department presence had left the facility.