The diagnosis and management of outbreaks of scabies in health care facilities may be difficult. As there is little information available regarding the extent of this problem we conducted a questionnaire study to provide an indication of the occurrence of scabies in chronic health care facilities in the province of Ontario, Canada. It also documented the facilities' approach to the management of the disease.
Two outbreaks of scabies in chronic health care facilities are described. The questionnaire study revealed that 25% of the institutions reported that they had problems with scabies over a 1-year period. A minority had a written policy with respect to dealing with the management of scabies, particularly in the setting of a mass outbreak.
Scabies is a common problem in chronic health care facilities; however, diagnosis and management may be difficult. The development of a specific protocol for the management of such outbreaks by the appropriate public health agencies would be useful.