ABC Medical Center > Scabies

What is Scabies?

21:55 - 4 May , 2021


It is a highly contagious skin condition caused by a small skin-burrowing mite called Sarcoptes scabiei, the human variant is called var.hominis and lava.canis in some animals, such as dogs.

According to figures estimated by the World Health Organization, there are currently about 300 million cases of infection in the world.

Anyone can get scabies because it spreads through physical or sexual contact with an infected person.

In the case of infected animals, humans can’t become infected by being in contact with them, although they can present some mild skin reactions.

The conventional incubation period, if it is the first infection, is two to three weeks before the appearance of symptoms, but if you have previously suffered from scabies, symptoms may appear in two or three days.

Signs and symptoms Scabies

  • Itching of great intensity, mainly at night.
  • Appearance of narrow furrows in the skin with a bump at the end. They can appear anywhere on the body but they usually do so on the fingers, wrists, armpits, elbows, waist, buttocks, breasts, genitals, knees, and feet.
  • Blisters, crusts, or nodules.
  • Skin ulcers that can cause bacterial infections.

People with a depressed immune system or with malnutrition may have scaling on their hands and feet, generating scabs infested with mites and eggs, being a type of scabies called Norwegian or crusted.

Diagnosis and treatment Scabies

Once your symptoms and clinical history are analyzed, your doctor will perform a physical examination to identify the characteristic signs of scabies. When locating the lesions, they will take a sample to be analyzed under the microscope and identify if there are mites or eggs.

Once scabies has been confirmed, and according to the degree of infestation and the affected areas, the treatment to be followed will be established, which consists mainly of:

  • Application of topical cream medications to be applied throughout the body, even in areas free of lesions.
  • Antihistamines to calm itching.
  • Antibiotics if bacterial infections have developed in the affected areas.
  • Disinfection of clothes, towels, sheets, and personal items.

If there is no response to these medications or they cause any adverse reaction, your doctor may prescribe sulfur with petroleum jelly.

It is important to mention that sometimes the lesions can disappear, but the infection continues, so it is necessary to repeat the treatment.

It is likely that after treatment you will continue to feel itchy all over your body for some time, so it is recommended that you:

  • Apply cold wet cloths to the parts where you feel the itch.
  • Apply calamine lotion to reduce the effects of skin irritation.

As it is a highly contagious disease, it is recommended that when there is someone sick at home, the whole family follows the same treatment.

At the ABC Medical Center Internal Medicine Department we offer health care services with the highest quality and safety, from prevention, diagnosis, timely treatment, and monitoring of infectious, respiratory, endocrinological, dermatological, rheumatic, nephrological, gastrointestinal, and hematological pathologies, of chronic-degenerative diseases and acute conditions, through a comprehensive and multidisciplinary model.


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  • Quero HA, Sánchez NLM, Estrada CR, et al. Sarna noruega. Presentación de un caso que dio origen a un brote intrahospitalario de sarna típica. Dermatología Cosmética, Médica y Quirúrgica. 2010;8(2):136-140.

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