Occupy Denver will likely face increased inquiries from police and the public works department after a man at the camp may have come forward with scabies. Scabies are a parasitic skin-burrowing mite, typically spread by direct contact with infected people.
According to the Denver Post, police arrested the man on an outstanding warrant. He told officers he had scabies as he was being arrested, which triggered an inquiry at the camp from the Denver Department of Environmental Health and plans for "clean sweeps" of bedding and other belongings left on the sidewalk.
Denver Public Works will constantly remove any items in the public right of way near Civic Center Park, where Occupy Denver has camped since October 2011. Officials will also power wash the sidewalks, noting in a news release on 9News that "the purpose of this effort is to clear the area of encumbrances, not individuals."
Occupy Denver contends the reports on scabies at the camp are false and a means to justify increased police presence there. A release from the group states the person in question had been treated for the parasite 3 weeks prior and was declared "free and clear" of scabies at the time.
"The individual had brought up the previous case of scabies while being questioned by police out of fear of being harassed," the release continues. "There are no current known cases of scabies among the Occupiers and homeless staying at the park."