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VTA Takes Precautions After Scabies Infection Among 4 Bus Operators

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We have confirmed that four operators have reported having the skin irritation, scabies. Twelve buses have been taken out of service in our North Yard Division in Mountain View. To put this in perspective, VTA has approximately 1,600 operations and maintenance employees and close to 450 buses in our entire fleet. Service is not being impacted at this time.
 
One operator reported the skin irritation on Saturday, April 6, and since that time we have confirmed three other reports. Based on the operators' work shifts, we assessed that about one dozen buses should be taken out of service and receive extra cleaning for precautionary measures. These buses operated on Lines 22, 522, 55 and 88.
 
Scabies is an infestation caused by a mite that burrows just under the skin and is limited to the skin. According to the Consumer & Environmental Protection Agency for Santa Clara County, the infestation is primarily spread by direct contact from one individual to another and is unlikely to be spread through a quick handshake or hug. The mite doesn’t last long in an environment without a host, dying off in about four to seven days.
 
If there is an infestation, proper cleaning can help eliminate the problem. There is no need for chemical treatment on the 12 buses, but the upholstered seats will be vacuumed, steam cleaned, and hard surface areas will be wiped down with diluted bleach. Employee common areas at our North Yard Division are also being treated. A notice went out to all bus operators with information from the CDC website.
 
Although this skin irritation is unlikely to be transmitted by merely sitting on a bus or being near a person with it, VTA has hired an exterminator to conduct the extra cleaning of these buses. This is an added measure of precaution to make sure that our employees and our public have no reason to worry. In addition, all 130 buses at our North Division will also receive extra cleaning over the weekend.
 
Our priority right now is containment and cleaning. We cannot yet confirm the origin of the skin irritation but we are looking into it. We have interviewed the four operators and they all confirmed that they were only in the operator area, not the passenger seating areas.
 
There have been no further reports of operators being infected or complaints from any VTA customers.
 
If anyone suspects they have it, they should see their doctor immediately – there are readily available prescriptions that can solve the problem. You may also contact VTA Customer Service with any questions or concerns at (408) 321-2300.

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