Scabies Outbreak Suspected at Taipei Elementary School

Tun Hwa Elementary School
Tun Hwa Elementary School, where 24 students have shown symptoms that are consistent with scabies. Photo by 寺人孟子 via Wikimedia Commons

At least 24 students at Tun Hwa Elementary School (台北市敦化國小) in Songshan District have contracted what authorities believe to be scabies, with similar symptoms that include a severe rash around their waists.

The outbreak began just before Dragon Boat Festival on May 24 with a few children showing symptoms. By the 28th, at least 15 children had similar rashes, Apple Daily reported.

Following the holiday and an increase in students with symptoms, the school moved the classroom from the first floor to the fifth floor on June 2, but parents said the school acted too slowly in this case.

The Taipei Health Department, Division of Disease Control and Prevention said it was notified of the outbreak at 4 pm on June 2.

Mackay Children’s Hospital has been monitoring the symptoms for five days and collected samples from infected students. The hospital also collected skin samples from students who did not show symptoms.

The hospital suspects that the rashes are caused by scabies. However, the school’s response was too slow if it is a scabies outbreak, and now there is no way to confirm the source.

The Health Department said that the children are recovering and it will continue to monitor their progress.

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