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All About Scabies

Written and reviewed by
Dr. Manju Keshari 88% (81 ratings)
MBBS, MD - Dermatology , Venereology & Leprosy
Dermatologist, Ghaziabad  •  25 years experience
All About Scabies

Scabies is a type of a skin condition that is characterized by itching and rashes. This dermatological condition is caused by sarcoptes scabiei, a type of microscopic mite. A contagious condition, scabies spreads through physical contact. It usually transmits through clothes, towels, sexual contact and other such ways. An estimate shows that scabies infect over 300 million humans worldwide per year.
This eight-legged microscopic mite creates a tunnel in the human skin and lays eggs in it. These larvae move under the surface of the skin and spread across the whole body, once hatched. Dogs, cats and mice can also be affected by the disease. It usually takes 2-6 weeks for the symptoms to develop. Signs and symptoms of scabies involve itching, rashes, sores and thick crusts on the surface of the skin.

Some of the risk factors of scabies are:

  1. Scabies spreads through direct, prolonged skin-to-skin contact with a person who has mites.
  2. An infected person can easily pass scabies to his/her household or sexual partners. Scabies in adults is usually sexually acquired.
  3. The likelihood of scabies increases easily under crowded conditions which involves close body and skin contact. Nursing homes, prisons, and several types of care facilities are sites of scabies outbreaks.
  4. Immunocompromised, elderly and disabled people also suffer from an increased likelihood of contracting such.

Complications of scabies include:

  1. Persistent and vigorous scratching can break the surface of your skin which can lead to secondary bacterial infections. Impetigo, a superficial infection is quite a common occurrence in case of such.
  2. Crusted scabies is the most severe form of scabies which is common among certain groups. People suffering from diseases such as HIV or leukemia and severely ill people who have weakened immune systems are at a higher risk of contracting this condition. This condition, also known as Norwegian scabies is very contagious and also hard to cure.

Depending on the symptoms and severity of the condition, appropriate medications and creams are prescribed by medical professionals.

Related Tip: "Risks and Complications of Scabies"

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