Scabies is an itchy skin condition caused by the microscopic mite Sarcoptes scabei. It is common all over the world, and it affects people of all races and social classes. Scabies spreads quickly in crowded conditions where there is frequent skin-to-skin contact between people. Hospitals, child-care centers and nursing homes are examples. Scabies can easily infect sex partners and other household members. Sharing clothes, towels, and bedding can also spread scabies. You cannot get scabies from a pet. Pets get a different mite infection called mange.
Several lotions are available to treat scabies. The infected person's clothes, bedding and towels should be washed in hot water and dried in a hot dryer.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
References and abstracts from MEDLINE/PubMed (National Library of Medicine)
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|Date last updated: 16 July 2008
Topic last reviewed: 14 May 2008