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    Scabies

    Sarcoptes scabiei

    Scabies is an easily spread skin disease caused by a very smalltype of mite.

    Causes

    Scabies is foundamong people of all groups and ages around the world.

    • Scabies spread by skin-to-skin contact with another person who has scabies.
    • Less often it can be spread by sharing clothes or bedding.Sometimes whole families are affected.

    Outbreaks of scabies are more common in nursing homes, nursing facilities, college dorms, and child care centers.

    The mites that cause scabies burrow into the skin and lay their eggs. This forms a burrow that looks like a pencil mark. Eggs hatch in 21 days. The itchy rash is an allergic response to the mite.

    Pets and animals cannot spread human scabies. It is also not very likely for scabies to be spread by:

    • A swimming pool
    • Contact with the towels, bedding, and clothing of someone who has scabies, unless the person has what is called "crusted scabies"

    Symptoms

    • Itching,most commonlyat night
    • Rashes, mostly between the fingers
    • Sores (abrasions) on the skin from scratching and digging
    • Thin, pencil-mark lines on the skin

    Mites may be more widespread on a baby's skin, causing pimples over the trunk, or small blisters over the palms and soles.

    • In young children, the infection may be on the head, neck, shoulders, palms, and soles of feet.
    • In older children and adults, the infectionmay be onthe hands, wrists, genitals, and abdomen.

    Exams and Tests

    The doctor will examine your skin for signs of scabies. The doctor will look at scrapings taken from a burrow to look for the mites. A skin biopsy can also be done.

    Treatment

    HOME CARE

    • Before treatment, wash underwear, towels, and sleepwear in hot water. Items that cannot be washed or dry-cleaned can be decontaminated by removing from any body contact for at least 72 hours.
    • Vacuum the carpets and upholstered furniture.
    • Use calamine lotion and soak in a cool bath to ease itching.
    • Take an oral antihistamine if your doctor recommends it for very bad itching.

    MEDICINES FROM YOUR HEALTH CARE PROVIDER

    The whole family or sexual partners of infected people should be treated, even if they do not have symptoms.

    Creams prescribed by your health care provider are needed to treat scabies.

    • The cream most often used is permethrin 5%.
    • Other creams include benzyl benzoate, sulfur in petrolatum, and crotamiton.
    • Lindane is rarely used because of its side effects.

    Apply the medicine all over your body.Creams may be used as a one-time treatment tor they may be repeated in 1week.

    For hard to treat cases, your health care provider may also prescribe a pill known as Ivermectin.

    Outlook (Prognosis)

    Itching may continue for 2 weeks or more after treatment begins. It will disappear if you follow your health care provider's treatment plan.

    Most cases of scabies can be cured without any long-term problems. A severe case with a lot of scaling or crusting may be a sign that the person has a disease such as HIV.

    Intense scratching can cause a secondary skin infection, such as impetigo.

    When to Contact a Medical Professional

    Call your health care provider if:

    • You have symptoms of scabies
    • A person you have been in close contact with has been diagnosed with scabies

    References

    Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Scabies Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs). Atlanta, Ga; November 2, 2010. [online] Accessed January 23, 2014.

    Habif TP, ed. Clinical Dermatology. 5th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Mosby Elsevier; 2009:chap 15.

    Diaz JH. Scabies. In: Mandell GL, Bennett JE, Dolin R, eds. Mandell, Douglas, and Bennett's Principles and Practice of Infectious Diseases. 7th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Churchill Livingstone Elsevier; 2009:chap 294.

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      Review Date: 1/23/2014

      Reviewed By: Kevin Berman, MD, PhD, Atlanta Center for Dermatologic Disease, Atlanta, GA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc., Editorial Team: David Zieve, MD, MHA, David R. Eltz, Stephanie Slon, and Nissi Wang.

      The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
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