An example of skin with scabies. Credit: Cixia | Creative Commons

A patient at Northern Light Mercy Hospital in Portland has Norwegian scabies, the hospital announced Tuesday afternoon.

Norwegian scabies is a more severe form of traditional scabies, which is an infestation caused by microscopic mites that burrow into the skin and cause an itchy rash, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“Scabies is a common skin condition that may cause us to cringe, but is not particularly worrisome from a health perspective,” said Dr. Michael Duffy of Northern Light Mercy Hospital. “Mercy’s specialists are identifying any exposed patients and staff that should receive treatment to address potential exposure.”­

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The patient diagnosed with the Norwegian — also called “crusted” — scabies is in isolation, the hospital said.

Scabies is spread by skin-to-skin contact or contamination of bedding and furniture, according to the CDC. It may take as long as six weeks for symptoms to present in a person who has contracted scabies for the first time, while symptoms might appear in just a few days if a person has had scabies previously.

A person with scabies can be contagious even if symptoms are not apparent.

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Featured image by Cixia used under Creative Commons license.

Seth Koenig

Seth has nearly a decade of professional journalism experience and writes about the greater Portland region.