PRINCE GEORGE'S COUNTY, Md. — The fallout from an outbreak of Scabies at a number of Prince George's County firehouses continues, but health workers appear to have put a stop to any new infections and all the affected firehouses have been treated.
However, some volunteer fire companies that host community events like Bingo and Holiday meals are still off-limits to the general public.
At least 45 firefighter/paramedics from 13 county fire stations were affected by the outbreak, which peaked in September.
The volunteer firehouse in Silver Hill, Md. is among those that will remain closed to the public until at least January, according to the Prince George's County Health Department.
Scabies is a skin rash that is caused by bites from microscopic mites.
According to the US Centers for Disease Control scabies commonly leads to intense itching and a pimple-like skin rash that may affect various areas of the body.
"Scabies is contagious and can spread quickly in areas where people are in close physical contact", the CDC reports.
The symptoms are treated with prescription topical creams that kill the mites. Affected clothing and bedding can be cleaned by washing in hot water.
Health officials say the fire halls will remain off-limits to public events until there has been no sign of the microscopic mites that cause scabies for two full incubation cycles for the bugs.
All affected stations were temporarily closed for pesticide applications and cleaning. 900 career firefighters and medics have been screened for scabies, and there have been no new infections reported among Fire/EMS workers since September.
No scabies infections have also been reported by members of the public who had been in contact with emergency workers or who had visited firehouses, according to Prince George's County Health Department spokesman George Lettis.