Workers wearing coveralls and face masks work at the Surrey SPCA Thursday afternoon

UPDATE: Unknown rash shuts down Surrey SPCA

Authorities believe the outbreak is a result of a parasitic mite that causes mange.

The Surrey SPCA was still closed to the public Friday due to “an unidentified staff illness.”

Six employees at the shelter, located on 152 Street near 67 Avenue, were sent home Wednesday with an unknown ailment that caused rashes on their arms.

The branch was closed Thursday while a handful of SPCA employees attempted to determine the cause of the mystery ailment.

At present, it appears to be some kind of parasite, according to an official with the Fraser Health Authority.

Bob Busch, the General Manager for the BCSPCA said he’s been told it’s likely a result of sarcoptic mange, sometimes referred to as canine scabies.

It is caused by a parasitic mite that burrows into the skin causing intense itch and potential for infection.

As of Friday, Busch said there has been no exact determination of what caused the rashes.

“It’s very frustrating,” Busch said, adding the employees affected are at home and not in any type of quarantine.

Three SPCA workers were on site Thursday wearing blue protective bunny suits and face masks. They said they have no idea as to the origin of the illness, but all symptoms of the employees were the same – red rashes on their arms.

The employees have been sent home and will stay there until it has been absolutely determined that there is not any danger to the public.

In the meantime, the SPCA’s Paws for a Cause event scheduled for Sunday. Sept. 11 has been cancelled.

Keep an eye on surreyleader.com for more information as it becomes known.

 

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