Students warned of highly contagious scabies outbreak in North Devon
An outbreak of a highly contagious skin condition has been confirmed in North Devon.
The Health Protection Agency (HPA) said there had been a number of cases of scabies, caused by tiny mites which burrow into the skin, in the Bideford area.
Bideford College posted a notice on its website giving information to both students and parents. Primary schools in the area have done the same to try to limit the spread of the infection.
College principal Veronica Matthews said there had been a very small number of cases among students.
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"I want to make sure that the college is not seen as the centre," Mrs Matthews added. "Unfortunately the health service released a notice to all schools to make it sound as though it was the centre, which it is not.
"It is business as usual at the college and we are not closing the premises despite rumours. The infection is very easily treated and so long as students have had treatment they are able to return to school."
An HPA spokeswoman advised anyone who thinks they may have the infection to visit their GP as soon as possible. She added: "It can be easily transferred through prolonged skin contact such as people holding hands."
For more information about the symptoms visit www.nhs.uk/conditions/Scabies