Scabies is an infestation of the skin by the human itch mite, where microscopic mites burrow into the upper layer of the skin and lay their eggs, causing itchiness and spreading infection.
Itchiness and rash with itchiness particularly occurring at night time. The mites prefer warm locations on the body, lesions are typically found on the hands and wrists, armpits, waste, under breasts, and around genitals.
Transmission and Prevention
Transmission of scabies occurs through close contact, sexual and non-sexual. Because scabies can live in bedding, towels, and clothes, sharing these items can also result in transmission.
To prevent transmission, where possible, avoid sexual contact or sharing bedding and clothing with anyone who has scabies before treatment is over.
Scabies can be treated using creams or shampoos purchased at the pharmacy. Clothing, bedding, and towels need to be washed in hot water. Items that cannot be washed should be vacuumed and/or stored in an air tight bag for up to two weeks. Antihistamines can be used to treat itchiness.
Testing for scabies is performed using a skin scraping to remove and examine the mite under a microscope or through the burrow ink test, where washable marker is applied to a bump or mite “burrow” on the skin. If there are scabies, they will burrow under the skin and an ink line may be visible.