Scabies outbreak reported at Parnall Correctional Facility in Jackson

Mark Hicks
The Detroit News

The Michigan Department of Corrections has declared a scabies outbreak at Parnall Correctional Facility in Jackson, officials confirmed Friday.

"The scabies medication will be administered early next week and the scabies protocol will be implemented throughout the facility," Chris Gautz, a spokesman for the department, said in an email to The Detroit News.

The facility sits on 45 acres and can house nearly 1,700 male prisoners at least 18 years old, according to the MDOC website.

This is the main entrance of the Parnall Correctional Facility in Jackson, Michigan.

Its A-North Housing Unit "has been dealing with a rash issue for the past few months," Gautz said, adding that affected prisoners were referred for assessment and treatment and officials thought the rashes stemmed from an environmental issue involving water, air, laundry or sanitation.

An environmental assessment completed in the unit on Dec. 9 found there were no such issues there and did not determine what caused the rashes, Gautz said. On Jan. 11, the warden’s team followed up with some of the affected prisoners who still showed rashes, he said. 

"The matter was then elevated to the head of MDOC’s healthcare division" on Jan. 15, which led to further medical evaluations and treatments, Gautz said. On Jan. 22, A-North was placed on scabies outbreak status.

Scabies is an infestation caused by the human itch mite that can burrow into the upper layer of skin to live and lay eggs, according to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention. It typically spreads through skin-to-skin contact with an infected person but can also be transmitted by sharing clothing, towels or bedding they used.

While all A-North prisoners were treated for scabies and officials followed protocols addressing the condition, "additional cases began to pop up in at least three other housing units at the facility" this week, Gautz said.

All of Parnall was placed on scabies outbreak status on Thursday.

Details on how many inmates have been affected were not released Friday night.