JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- OSHA is investigating a possible outbreak of scabies at a local office.
Scabies, which is a severe itchy rash caused by tiny mites, is not uncommon, but how it could be contracted in an office setting, according to a local doctor, is kind of out of the norm.
We were quickly shown the door Friday afternoon when we went to investigate numerous complaints of scabies at the Chase Bank mortgage processing office on the Southside.
A number of employees have contacted First Coast News with reports of several scabies cases on the second floor where more than 200 people work.
In a statement late Friday, Chase acknowledged the outbreak saying
"A handful of employees at our Freedom Crossings facility were confirmed and treated for scabies. We have taken a number of steps to address this ..."
Employees who say they cannot appear on camera for fear of dismissal and legal action by the company are telling us the problem has been ongoing -- and spreading -- for much of the summer.
Orange Park Dr. George Schmeider has treated scabies primarily among the elderly and says such an outbreak in an office setting is somewhat unusual.
"We've got these little cubicles and they've got people working in much tighter spaces and we've got people lined up and we've got cloth seating where they can kinda crawl. It takes them a while they're slow movers, but certainly it can happen.
"And then depending on sharing of a lunch space, so people are in close contact. Maybe the person who spreads them is a big hugger, likes to hug everybody every morning. That's the type of thing you can do it but generally good handwashing, casual contact, very limited. You have to spend some time in contact with somebody."
A number of employees who say they contracted scabies in the workplace here have called the federal OSHA office which confirms it has begun an investigation.
Immediately after our visit, Chase stepped up its efforts to clean the second floor. Workers have been told they will be called if the office is not going to re-open Monday morning.
First for you, the most common symptoms of scabies are intense itching, and rash.
The rash can also contain blisters and scales. Scabies can be diagnosed by your doctor, and treated through prescription lotion.
First Coast News