Highly contagious via direct skin-to-skin contact; seen most commonly in overcrowded living conditions and in developing countries.
Caused by Sarcoptes scabiei, a 0.3- to 0.5-mm mite that can burrow and deposit eggs in the human stratum corneum.
Microscopic visualisation of mites, their eggs, or faeces in skin scrapings is helpful but not essential to initiation of treatment.
Most popular treatment options include topical permethrin and oral ivermectin.
Primarily considered a nuisance in the developed world. Children in the developing world can contract secondary streptococcal infection in their skin lesions, with potential complications of rheumatic heart disease or post-streptococcal glomerulonephritis.
Scabies is caused by infestation with the ectoparasite Sarcoptes scabiei, a mite that burrows through the human stratum corneum. Spread is primarily via direct contact with an individual with scabies. Clinical clues to diagnosis include intense pruritus and linear erythematous burrows, particularly on the extremities, or erythematous papules and nodules elsewhere such as in the axilla or genital area. Rarely, it can present on the neck and scalp. Diagnosis is based on history and clinical appearance.
History and exam
- overcrowded living conditions/poverty
- living in close quarters with others who are infected
- age under 15 or over 65 years
- sexual contact with new or multiple partners
- poor hygiene
- contact with an infected animal
- contact with contaminated clothing, towels, and bedding
- winter season
Laura Korb Ferris, MD, PhD, FAAD
Department of Dermatology
University of Pittsburgh
LKF declares that she has no competing interests.
Ryan Harris, MD
Treasure Valley Dermatology and Skin Cancer Center
RH declares that he has no competing interests.
Dr Laura Korb Ferris and Dr Ryan Harris would like to gratefully acknowledge Dr Pooja Khera, a previous contributor to this topic. PK declares that she has no competing interests.
David Cassarino, MD, PhD
Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine
University of California
DC declares that he has no competing interests.
Roderick J. Hay, DM, FRCP, FRCPath, FMedSci
International Foundation of Dermatology
RJH declares that he has no competing interests.
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