Scabies

ORGANISM

A mite: Sarcoptes scabiei

TRANSMISSION

Scabies is passed by direct skin-to-skin contact with a person with scabies or contact with infested bedding, towels, and clothing.

INCUBATION

Itching begins after two to six weeks in people without previous exposure. People who have had scabies before can develop symptoms 1-4 days after re-exposure.

TYPICAL SYMPTOMS

Early symptoms include small, raised, red bumps or blisters on the skin (burrows) with severe itching. Scabies affects the webs of the fingers, wrists and elbows, underarms, belt line, thighs, and external genitalia in men; nipples, abdomen, and the lower portion of the buttocks in women.

DIAGNOSIS

Scabies is diagnosed by seeing burrows, mites, eggs, or the mite’s feces in affected skin. Skin scrapings can be examined under the microscope.

TREATMENT

Scabies is cured with medicated creams, lotions, or shampoos that kill scabies mites. Bedding, towels, and clothing must be machine washed and dried using the heat cycle, dry cleaned, or removed from body contact for at least 72 hours.

PREVENTION

Avoid physical/skin to skin contact with people with scabies and infested bedding, towels, and clothing.

DANGER

None.

COMMENTS

People who have had sexual, close, or household contact with a person with scabies in the past month should be examined and treated if they have scabies.

DSHS Publication Number 13-11910