UNF alerts freshman dorm residents to possible exposure to scabies, 347 students notified

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — University North Florida student health services has notified a total of 347 students because of possible exposure to scabies.

Officials at UNF have also confirmed to Action News Jax that they identified 13 students who “either required treatment for infection or prophylactic treatment due to exposure to scabies.” Four of the students have been diagnosed with the infection.

“I got notified last week it kind of shocked me a little bit,” student Jonathan Nordaas said.

UNF officials told Action News Jax 13 students needed treatment either for infection or for general exposure to scabies, four were actually diagnosed with it.

The warning about the skin infestation was sent to 347 students in Osprey Cove buildings T and V, which are freshmen dorms. It’s also a building where student Jonathan Nordaas lives, so he took precautions.

“A couple of my friends told me to get the ointment you just put it on your skin you leave it on for 10 hours and wash it off,” he said. “I did that, my whole roommates did that, so we’re good and clear.”

UNF officials said three of the four students diagnosed and treated live on campus. Of the nine who were potentially exposed, six live on campus. The student health services sent out educational attachments in that message on how you can get it, how it can be prevented, the symptoms and proper treatment.

Other students who live in the buildings impacted like Marley Nagy had some concerns but said they were also being cautious.

“Scabies is scary, I wouldn’t want to have it, but I don’t think I have so we’re in the clear,” Nagy said.

Dr. Chirag Patel is the Assistant Chief Medical Officer and the Director of Hospital Medicine at UF Health Jacksonville.

“Just brushing somebody’s hand, things like that, that won’t do it but holding someone’s hand for a couple minute, certainly,” he said. “It’s not like it’s on your sweater and someone borrows your sweater and going to get it like that, it’s prolonged skin-to-skin contact.”

Dr. Patel said scabies is certainly an annoying problem to have but easy to take care of and recovery ranges in time frame.

“Anywhere between five days to two weeks, it depends on how severe the infection is,” Dr. Patel said.

For student Nordaas, he said he knows a few of the people who had it and said they’re doing okay.

“Good so far, they haven’t gotten symptoms back,” he said.

Scabies is a contagious, intensely itchy skin condition caused by tiny, burrowing mites.

Scabies is very contagious, especially in close contact environments like a college dorm. The mite is spread by direct, prolonged, skin-to-skin contact with a person who has scabies. It can spread rapidly under crowded conditions where close body and skin contact is frequent.

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