Antigua: Scabies outbreak at the jail

(ANTIGUA OBSERVER) – There are nine cases of suspected scabies in the jail and the inmates have been locked away in the chapel which the authorities have reportedly boarded up, essentially converting it into the ‘quarantine’ area.

A source at the Coronation Road prison said this was done a few days ago, as there is fear of a much wider outbreak among inmates and prison officers, and perhaps the wider society as the prison staff do not live at Her Majesty’s Prison.

The prison source said no doctor has visited the prison for the week, though a prescription was written for RX, to treat the condition.

The symptoms include rashes about the body, especially around the genital area and buttocks. The rashes are red in colour and are said to be spreading quickly, particularly because the ventilation is poor in the jail and the air is humid, the source said.

And, according to the source, who has seen the affected inmates and spoken with them, the inmates are complaining of constant itching in the affected areas, and they have reported that the medication issued has not helped to abate that symptom.

Some two years ago, there was an outbreak of chicken pox at the prison and shortly after that, a number of inmates were infected with MRSA. They were all quarantined in the same chapel.

Back then, prison superintendent Albert Wade presented a report indicating that over 100 inmates had the pox and nine people at the prison, including inmates and prison officers, had tested positive for MRSA.

Calls to Wade’s phone went unanswered yesterday when OBSERVER media sought to get a comment on the latest health issue.

Currently, the jail has just over 300 prisoners, though it was built to house only 150.

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