- Mar 30, 2007
Scabies (Sarcoptes scabiei) is a contagious skin disease caused by a species of mite that is very small.
Causes:Scabies is found worldwide among people of all groups and ages. It is spread by direct contact with infected individuals and less often by sharing clothing or bedding. Sometimes whole families are affected.
The mites that cause scabies burrow into the skin and deposit their eggs, forming a characteristic burrow that looks like a pencil mark. Eggs mature in 21 days. Mites may be more widespread on a soft skin, causing pimples over the trunk, or small blisters over the palms and soles. In young children, the head, neck, shoulders, palms, and soles are involved. In older children and adults, hands, wrists, genitals, and abdomen are involved.
- Itching especially at night
- Thin, pencil-mark lines on the skin
- Abrasions of the skin from scratching and digging
Treatment: Prescription medicated creams are commonly used to treat scabies infections. Such products are applied all over the body. It may be necessary to treat the whole family or sexual partners of infected individuals, even if no symptoms are present.
For difficult cases, some health care providers may also prescribe medications taken by mouth to kill the scabies mites.
Itching may persist after treatment begins, but will disappear if treatment continues exactly as your health care provider prescribes. Itching can be minimized by cool soaks and calamine lotion. Your doctor may additionally recommend an oral antihistamins.
Prevention: Avoid contact with infected persons