This archived article was written by: staff
College students taking road trips is not unusual. College students taking road trips to Denver to see the Utah Jazz take on the Denver Nuggets is not that unusual. College students being on limited budgets and staying in cheap hotels is still not that unusual. However, college students taking a road trip to see the Jazz play the Nuggets in Denver, staying overnight in a cheap hotel, and bringing home scabies is not what two College of Eastern Utah sophomores planned.
The two Aaron Jones’ residents drove to Denver, Colo., the weekend of November 6-7 to see the two professional basketball teams play in the Pepsi Arena. “It was a great victory for the Jazz,” smiled one of the students. “And we had a great time driving over scenic I-70. It’s just what happened after we got home that made the trip questionable.”
About 10 days after the two students returned to campus, one of the students noticed a breakout of hive-like symptoms appear on his arms. The next day he woke up with his entire body engulfed in clusters of brown nodules, rashes and pimple-like irritations. He said the rash itched like mosquito bites and that about drove him crazy.
This is when he sought medical attention in CEU’s Health and Wellness Clinic. When the nurse looked at him, she knew he had a severe case of scabies and needed immediate treatment. She sent him to Castle Valley Hospital emergency for that treatment.
Medical personnel at the hospital immediately made him shower in a hot shower with special soaps. They prescribed an ointment that takes eight hours to kill the bacteria.
As soon as he applied the cream, most of the irritation disappeared. Within 24 hours, most of the symptoms had disappeared.
Two or three days later, the other student came down with mild symptoms on his body. He also applied the ointment and his case of scabies disappeared within hours.
Because the students at first did not know where they contacted the infestation of parasites known as scabies, CEU’s assistant dean of students, Bill Osborn, and Aaron Jones Hall Director, Luz Flores, called a meeting of AJ’s RAs. They talked to the RAs about how scabies is transmitted, the incubation period, the symptoms, and how to treat anyone with the symptoms. They wanted to make sure if anyone else in residential life contracted any symptoms, that they would be medically treated and their dorm rooms cleaned.
Scabies is an infestation of the top layer of skin caused by the parasite, Sarcoptes scabiei, often called scabies or mites. The female parasite burrows under the skin and begins laying eggs within a few hours of infection and continues to lay two to three eggs daily. It takes approximately 10 days for the eggs to hatch and become adult mites. At this point, the cycle begins again.
Although it can be caused by close physical contact, the transmission is possible through prolonged contact with infested linens, furniture or clothing. It is unlikely that scabies would be transmitted during casual contact (e.g. shaking hands or hugging) or contact with inanimate objects, such as a toilet seat, reports the American Social Health Association. The symptoms of scabies is persistent itching that usually becomes worse at night, presence of mite burrow(s), often in a zigzag or “S” pattern and presence of lesions, writes the ASHA,
Getting rid of scabies includes washing infected clothing and linen on the hot cycle setting (130 degrees Fahrenheit) plus drying on hot cycle for at least 20 minutes. Infested articles that cannot be laundered may be dry cleaned or placed in a bag for two weeks to ensure decontamination.
Furniture and carpeting may be vacuumed to rid infested area of mites, with the vacuum bag being disposed after use. The ASHA did not advise to fumigate the living area.
The organization writes that Scabies does not usually cause anything more than discomfort and inconvenience. Occasionally, secondary bacterial infections may occur due to aggressive scratching.
After having to literally clean every piece of furniture, bedding, carpeting and clothing in the two student’s apartment with a special antibacterial spray, they laugh about how clean their living environment is this month.
They look back on their road trip to Denver and smile, agreeing that watching the Jazz play the Nuggets was totally worth it. But whenever they see a motel sign that advertises rooms for $19.99 a night, they say they will probably pass on staying there. “There is new meaning to the phrase, it was a roach [or mite] invested hotel.”