What is Scabies?

Scabies is a skin infestation caused by a tiny mite known as Sarcoptes scabiei. It causes intense itching and a pimple-like skin rash.


Who’s at Risk for Scabies?

Anyone can get scabies, but those in crowded living conditions where close skin-to-skin contact is common are at higher risk. This includes places like nursing homes, extended-care facilities, and prisons.


What Causes Scabies?

Scabies is caused by the Sarcoptes scabiei mite. The mites burrow into the top layer of skin to live and lay their eggs.


How Does Scabies Start?

Scabies starts when the female mites burrow into the skin to lay eggs. The body's allergic reaction to the mites, their eggs, and their waste causes symptoms.


What Are the Symptoms of Scabies?

Symptoms of scabies include intense itching, especially at night, and a pimple-like rash. The burrows of the mites may be visible as tiny raised or discolored lines.


How is Scabies Diagnosed?

Scabies is diagnosed based on symptoms and appearance of the skin. Skin scrapings can be taken to examine under a microscope for mites, eggs, or mite feces.


How Can Scabies Be Treated?

Scabies is typically treated with medications that kill the scabies mites and their eggs. In some cases, you might need to repeat the treatment.


What Complications May Occur with Scabies?

Complications of scabies can include secondary skin infections, such as impetigo. Severe infestation, known as crusted scabies, can occur in some cases.


How Can I Prevent Scabies?

Scabies can be prevented by avoiding direct skin-to-skin contact with a person infected with scabies, and by not wearing, using, or sleeping in bedclothes, sheets, and towels used by an infected person.


Long-term Management of Scabies

Long-term management involves ensuring that all mites and eggs are killed by treatment, and by washing or dry-cleaning all clothing, bed linens, and other items that the infected person has used.


What is Recent Research Saying About Scabies?

Recent research into scabies is focused on better understanding the biology of the mites, improving diagnostic methods, and finding new treatment options.


Where Can I Go For More Information on Scabies?

For more information on scabies, visit reputable health websites like the American Academy of Dermatology, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or the Mayo Clinic.