Reports have emerged of an infestation of scabies at HMP Dodds in St Philip.
One prison officer who did not want to be identified, told Barbados TODAY they thought the creatures were bed bugs but later found out they were dealing with scabies mites.
Scabies is an itchy, highly contagious skin disease caused by an infestation by the itch mite Sarcoptes Scabiei.
Mites are small eight-legged parasites (in contrast to insects which have six legs ). They are tiny, just 1/3 millimeter long and burrow into the skin to produce intense itching, which tends to be worse at night.
Scabies has been reported to occur in epidemics in nursing homes, hospitals, long-term care facilities and other institutions such as prisons and among the homeless.
The disease is said to be very contagious and direct skin-to-skin is the mode of transmission.
A medical official at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) the disease is common in Barbados.
Barbados TODAY has learnt that a prison officer who transports inmates to the hospital contracted it from one inmate and he [the prison officer] had to be treated at the QEH.
It is understood that a close family member of the officer also had to be treated.
When contacted, Superintendent of Prisons Lieutenant Colonel John Nurse said he was unaware of any infestation of scabies there. [email protected]