Scabies outbreak sends panic through halls
It gives you really itchy skin
An alarming scourge of scabies has sent terror through a uni halls of residence after two residents were diagnosed.
Over 800 students were warned they were at risk of suffering from the itchy skin condition, after a student contracted the contagious illness in a London halls of residence this week.
University of West London students living at swanky Paragon Halls in Brentford – costing up to £190 per week – were sent emails by hall bosses warning them of the potential epidemic.
Two emails were sent to all 840 students outlining the symptoms of the condition and asking those who get diagnosed to inform management so they can “update the Health Protection Team”.
The Tab can now reveal a second student from the halls has been diagnosed with the condition.
Scabies is an extremely itchy skin disorder that can be easily passed from one person to another. It is caused by an infestation of scabies mites which live on the skin and burrow into it.
Holding hands or sexual contact is the most common way for it to spread among adults.
Posters warning of the contagious skin condition were put all around the halls, including in elevators and corridors.
Residents are in shock at the outbreak, just as the semester begins at the university based in the Ealing and Brentford area of London.
A second year living at Paragon who wanted to remain anonymous, said scabies was the “current topic of conversation” in the halls.
She added: “It’s really annoying because it makes you really paranoid.
“I was sitting next to someone at uni the other day and she had spots on her arms, and I was like no, I’m not trying to catch scabies.”
She added her flatmate’s friend thinks he may have it as he has bumps around his hands. She thinks it is unlikely people will tell halls management if they have it.
Scabies causes a pimple-like rash usually found on the hands, especially the webbing between the fingers, the skin folds of the wrist, elbow or knee, the penis, the breast or the shoulder. Infestation causes intense itching all over the body, especially at night. Scratching of itchy areas results in sores that may become infected by bacteria.
Scabies can be treated with insecticide cream applied to the whole body twice, a week apart. Health officials also advise washing bed linen, clothes and towels at high temperatures to kill the mites.
A Notting Hill Housing spokesperson said: “We can confirm that two University of West London (UWL) students in residence at Paragon Student Lets recently contracted scabies.
“However they did not contract it at Paragon House. Both students have been treated and are not at risk of spreading the condition.
“The UWL GP is providing students with advice and support. Paragon Student Lets and UWL will continue to monitor this situation.”
According to the World Health Organization there are 300 million cases of scabies in the world each year.