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Scabies outbreak closes schools

Three West Country schools were forced to close last week after an outbreak of scabies.

Nineteen cases of the itchy and contagious skin condition - caused by burrowing mites - were confirmed at three Somerset schools on the same site. Medics ran out of creams and lotions to give to parents of pupils at Sedgemoor Manor junior school, Bridgwater, when it closed last Tuesday following confirmation of 12 cases. Two staff were affected.

More supplies were brought in on Wednesday, when the neighbouring infant school was also shut. East Bridgwater community school, the local secondary school, closed on Thursday, after cases emerged among its 550 pupils.

Michael Amos, head of the 443-pupil junior school, said: "It's a relative of head lice. It's not life-threatening but it is extremely infectious - which is why the health authority recommended closure to catch it before it becomes a problem."

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