A health scare caused quite a buzz Monday at one Metro high school, after three people came down with scabies - a skin infection caused by mites - over the Thanksgiving break.
While doctors say it's highly contagious, it wasn't necessary to cancel classes.
"Oftentimes, you see it in family members, you see it in children where it gets spread one child from another," said Vanderbilt University pediatrician Dr. Joseph Gigante.
Scabies involves tiny bugs that burrow under the skin and are so small they're only visible under a microscope, but the infection caused quite a big scare at Hillwood High School.
Two teachers and a student came down with scabies over the break.
It's something Gigante sees all too often in his practice at Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital.
"It is a common rash that we see in children," he said. "It's not transmitted by touching an object. It has to be kind of physical contact with another person that actually has scabies. One person who has it runs up and spreads it to another person."
Symptoms include a red rash or spots and severe itching, especially at night.
Just to be on the safe side, Hillwood custodians spent the holiday weekend scouring the area where the three came in contact, disinfecting the site.
And by Monday, students were back in class.
"It's not like where you have to close the school down or keep your kid home." Gigante said. "What I would tell parents is if there's anybody at school who's got a rash, a rash that's really itchy, you can be in the same room with that person but don't have any physical contact. Don't touch that person."
Scabies can only be diagnosed by a healthcare provider.
To treat it, parents have to cover their child's body with a medical cream overnight for 8 to 14 hours.
That kills the mite.
Though their skin may still itch for another two to four weeks, they are no longer contagious.
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