I feel for those three TSA workers who were found to have scabies. I just read about them in this article at WBZ. Each of them worked during the same shift at the same check point at Logan Airport in Boston.
It is not clear how they got scabies. TSA officials have said that because the TSA workers wear gloves, the public has nothing to worry about. The workers are on medical leave until they have been told by a doctor that it’s okay for them to return to work.
To prevent the spread of scabies to the rest of the TSA workers at Logan, all of them were told to take all their clothes and uniforms home to wash them. The areas at the airport that could have been infected were also thoroughly cleaned.
Here’s a health refresher course. Scabies is caused by a microscopic scabies parasite that burrows under the skin, creating a blister that gets patchy, red and itches something fierce. It’s kind of gross really. I’ve had it. Like the TSA folks, I have no idea how I got it, but one day, there was a small patch of it above my upper lip when I was living in The Gambia. A friend of mine who was ONLY A FRIEND had a case much worse than I did under his beard. It must have been going around. In The Gambia, I seem to remember it being much more common during the dry season.
Scabies can be caught by: scratching, picking up mites under fingernails, touching another person’s skin, and touching anything that might be infected with mites because someone with scabies touched them. Think keyboards, toilets, clothes, towels, workout equipment etc. Luckily mites don’t live off of a body for longer than 72 hours. [Wikipedia]
Scabies is curable through the use of a prescription topical cream. It didn’t take me long to be as right as rain again.