October 03. 2013 7:23AM

33 workers infected with scabies at Exeter Hospital

Union Leader Correspondent

EXETER - More than 30 employees at Exeter Hospital have been treated for scabies after becoming infected by a patient.

The infections occurred in early September and were reported to state health officials on Sept. 27, hospital spokesman Debra Vasapolli said.

In addition to the 33 infected workers, nearly 300 hospital employees were treated proactively to prevent the spread of the contagious skin infection caused by mites.

As of Wednesday, the hospital had completed nearly all precautionary measures with employees identified as having a "potential risk for inadvertent exposure" to scabies after treating an infected patient at the hospital, Vasapolli said.

"Since Monday, only one additional employee has presented to (the hospital's Staff Health Service) with symptoms, which means we have been successful in our efforts to prevent further transmission," she said.

While no patients have reported infections, staff from the hospital's Infection Prevention Department compiled a list of patients who had "even the slightest potential of exposure," Vasapolli said.

She added, "Those names are being sent to the patients' primary care physicians, and the practices will be reaching out directly to their own patients to provide education about their potential risk of exposure and to determine if the patient should receive preventative treatment."

The hospital wasn't required to notify the state about the infections because it wasn't considered an outbreak, but it reported the incident voluntarily, according to Vasapolli.