Update on Scabies Outbreak at Kona Hospital

December 7, 2018, 12:22 PM HST
* Updated December 7, 12:23 PM
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Kona Community Hospital is not closed. The hospital is continuing to admit and treat patients, and all outpatient services remain open.

Scabies is caused by a mite which burrows under the skin causing intense itching and rash.

However, effective Thursday, Dec. 6, 2018, the hospital is temporarily restricting visitors from going to all patient care units until further notice. Hospital employees spent Thursday afternoon informing patients and their primary contact persons of the temporary restrictions.

Joy Bjornberg, Interim Chief Nurse stated that the hospital is controlling the flow of traffic through the facility by temporarily restricting visitors from in-patient units. ”

This will help contain and limit the potential for exposure by patients and staff,” said Bjornberg.

All patient care staff members are receiving preventive treatment whether symptomatic or not. Scabies is not a public health threat. Rather, it is a highly contagious, but common infection that spreads from person to person by prolonged skin-to-skin contact. Signs and symptoms include intense itching and a pimple-like rash.


Since Monday, Nov. 19, the hospital personnel have been containing the spread of scabies, a highly contagious, but common infection that spreads from person to person by prolonged skin-to-skin contact.


“Our surveillance of this situation will be ongoing for up to eight weeks,” said Lisa Downing, Infection Prevention and Employee Health Director. “The hospital’s control protocols are aligned with CDC recommendations for controlling and containing a scabies outbreak. The Hawai‘i Department of Health has also provided support.”

Concerned community members may learn more about scabies on the Hawai`i State Department of Health website.

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