Northern Light Mercy Hospital in Portland confirmed Tuesday that it is treating a patient who has been diagnosed with Norwegian scabies, a more severe and contagious form of the skin disease.

The patient has been placed in isolation, the hospital said in a news release. The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention has been notified and the hospital is following all protocols for treating an infectious disease.

State health officials do not consider exposure to be a significant threat to public health, but it may present discomfort to those who develop the itchy rash it causes.

“Scabies is a common skin condition that may cause us to cringe, but is not particularly worrisome from a health perspective,” Dr. Michael Duffy, Mercy’s senior physician executive, said in a statement. “Mercy’s specialists are identifying any exposed patients and staff that should receive treatment to address potential exposure.”

A healthy individual exposed to Norwegian scabies may become infected and develop symptoms consistent with traditional scabies.

According to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, scabies is a skin condition caused by mites. It commonly leads to intense itching and a pimple-like skin rash that may affect various areas of the body. Scabies is contagious and can spread quickly in areas where people are in close physical contact.

Norwegian scabies, also known as crusted scabies, is a severe form that can occur in people with weakened immune systems, including the elderly, disabled or debilitated, the CDC said.

People with questions about the Norwegian scabies case can contact the hospital at 879-3185.

Dennis Hoey can be contacted at 791-6365 or at:

[email protected]

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