FAQ | Scabies

Scabies is a very itchy rash caused by a parasitic mite that burrows in the skin surface. Factors leading to spread of scabies include: Poverty and overcrowding. Scabies is nearly always acquired by skin-to-skin contact with someone else with scabies. The contact may be quite brief such as holding hands with an infested child. Scabies can be acquired via bedding or furnishings. Scabies causes a very itchy rash especially more at night. Scabies burrows appear grey irregular tracks in the web spaces between the fingers, on the palms and wrists. The clinical suspicion of scabies is high if an itchy patient reporting itchy household members. They may also be found on or in elbows, nipples, armpits, buttocks, penis, insteps and heels. Secondary infection may occur in scabies.

The chemical insecticides used to treat scabies are called scabicides. The scabicide is applied to the whole body from the scalp to soles. The topical treatment is left on the entire skin for 8–10 hours. All close contacts should receive treatment. Treatment should be repeated after 8–10 days after the first application to catch mites that have newly hatched. Bed linen, towels and clothing should be laundered after treatment. Rooms should be thoroughly cleaned with normal household products.