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Eaten Alive By Scabies Mites: Former Model Dies From Septicemia


This is a representational image showing the photo of a tick, a parasite that can cause diseases. Photo: Getty Images

By Suman Varandani, International Business Times - Business

An investigation into the death of a former model in 2015 revealed the woman, known for her good looks, was eaten alive by scabies mites at a Georgia nursing home. 93-year-old Rebecca Zeni's cause of death was “septicemia due to crusted scabies,” the autopsy report said.

The Dementia sufferer was in care at the Shepherds Hill Nursing Home in LaFayette in June 2015, at a time when the facility had an outbreak of scabies. According to a lawsuit filed by Zeni's family, health officials were notified multiple times about the outbreak but no one inspected the facility.

A forensic pathologist, who reviewed the case, claimed that millions of parasitic mites ate Zeni alive over several months or possibly years.

Zeni’s family is suing Pruitt Health, which operates the nursing home, where the woman died.

“I don’t understand how you can allow a human being to suffer needlessly,” Mike Prieto, the family’s lawyer, said. Stephen Chance, another lawyer representing the family said the nursing home staff were told, “not to touch Zeni’s hand.”

“There was a conversation at this nursing home with a health care provider about being careful about touching Ms. Zeni’s hand for fear that it might fall off her body,” Chance told local media 11Alive.

Photos of Zeni before her death show her skin blackened and flaky due to the infestation of scabies in her body.

What is Scabies?

Scabies is an “infestation by the human itch mite. The microscopic scabies mite burrows into the upper layer of the skin where it lives and lays its eggs,” according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). "Scabies can spread rapidly under crowded conditions where close body contact is frequent. Institutions such as nursing homes, extended-care facilities, and prisons are often sites of scabies outbreaks."

Signs and symptoms:

Symptoms of scabies on a person for the first time are not seen during the first two to six weeks after they are infested. According to the CDC, the most common symptoms of scabies severe itching (pruritus), especially at night. A pimple-like (papular) itchy (pruritic) “scabies rash” is also common. Itching and rash may be caused between the fingers, wrists, elbow, armpit, penis, nipple, waist, buttocks and shoulder blades. Tiny burrows made by the mites are sometimes seen on the skin.


Avoiding direct skin-to-skin contact with an infested person can prevent scabies. Items such as clothing, bedding of an infested person must be avoided. Machine wash of bedding and clothing worn or used next to the skin anytime during the three days before treatment is recommended.

"Persons with crusted scabies and their close contacts, including household members, should be treated rapidly and aggressively to avoid outbreaks. Institutional outbreaks can be difficult to control and require a rapid, aggressive, and sustained response," according to CDC. "Rooms used by a patient with crusted scabies should be thoroughly cleaned and vacuumed after use. Environmental disinfestation using pesticide sprays or fogs generally is unnecessary and is discouraged."


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U.S. - U.S. Daily News: Eaten Alive By Scabies Mites: Former Model Dies From Septicemia
Eaten Alive By Scabies Mites: Former Model Dies From Septicemia
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