Scabies Outbreak Management

Outbreak Definition of Scabies: An outbreak is two or more cases of scabies among residents or employees of a facility within 4-6 weeks.

If an outbreak of scabies has been declared, the first 24 hours are critical in minimising the impact of the infection on residents and employees.






Immediate actions need to include


Set up PPE station and signage 

Cohort healthcare workers, working areas 

Provide a single bathroom, bedroom, observation and care equipment to the affected resident

Implement the management plan for essential visitors (Partners in Care/Named Visitors/compassionate visitors) to continue to connect with residents

PPE Required For Outbreak Management


Disposable long-sleeved gowns  

PPE and hand hygiene refresher training for employees

Use Standard Precautions and Transmission-Based Precautions to minimise transmission 


Explain isolation precautions to the resident and why they are necessary

Notify the leadership team to assist 

Notify the doctor to provide guidance and treatment

Notify all employees to ensure understanding of tasks required in an outbreak (including kitchen, laundry and cleaning)

Notify the family, provide reassurance, and make them aware of visiting requirements/restrictions in an outbreak

A thorough handover is required between shifts; including affected residents and those at risk


Have an active surveillance programme ensuring early detection of all residents and staff

Treat all residents and staff with symptoms as potentially positive cases and treat them accordingly

Maintain records of all residents infested with scabies and those treated as close contacts including staff

Advise staff affected to treat all family members

Use the correct PPE, avoiding skin-to-skin contact with residents with scabies for at least 8 hours after treatment

Check sufficient PPE, testing equipment, hand hygiene, waste disposal and cleaning stock are available 

Advise healthcare workers to go home and stay home if infected, and complete the treatment ( refer to organisations policy for staff returning to work if treated for a scabies infestation)

Staff generally can return to work the day after receiving one dose of treatment, however, symptomatic staff providing care may be advised to wear PPE for several days after treatment as a precaution

Ensure healthcare workers are aware they are unable to work at other facilities during an outbreak

Screen any visitors to the facility before entering 

Ensure visitors entering wear PPE


Record all assessments and actions taken in residents' medical records