Scabies caused by a sarcoptes scabei var hominis mite which only lives on humans. It is a highly contagious itchy rash, easily spread to other members of the same household. The itchy rash is caused by an allergy to the mite. This may take a month or more after being first infested or exposed to the scabies mite and young children and infants may produce itchy pustules on their hands or feet.

Infection of scabies is caused by close contact (eg. skin to skin) or sharing clothes and bedding with someone with scabies. The transmission of mites is increased in warmer temperature and the itch is often worse at night.

The scabies mite leaves squiggly burrows in the skin, less than 1cm in length, and are usually found between the fingers, wrists, feet and genitals. The mite is unable to be seen without magnification and a scraping of the burrows will reveal the mite, eggs or faeces when examined.

All members of the same household should be treated at the same time to ensure re-infection does not take place.

Scabies treatment involves all members of the family being prescribed a cream, bedding and clothes should be washed in hot water to kill the mite and its eggs or put aside in a plastic bag for seven days to wait for the mite and eggs to die.

If the itch persists and does not settle within a few weeks you should be re-examined by your dermatologist. 

 

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