Scabies

Menstuff® has compiled the following information on Scabies.

Fast Facts
What is Scabies?
How is it transmitted?
How long before symptoms appear?
How long is a person considered infectious?
Symptoms
Testing/Diagnosis
Treatment
What does it mean for my health?
Reduce your risk

Fast Facts

What is Scabies?

Scabies is an infestation of the top layer of skin caused by the parasite, Sarcoptes scabiei, often called scabies or mites. The female parasite burrows under the skin and begins laying eggs within a few hours of infection and continues to lay 2 to 3 eggs daily. It takes approximately 10 days for the eggs to hatch and become adult mites. At this point, the cycle will begin again.

How is it transmitted?

Sexual Transmission:

Scabies are transmitted through close physical contact. Transmission is more likely when partners spend the night together than during a brief sexual encounter.

Nonsexual Transmission:

Sexual contact is not necessary to spread scabies. Prolonged contact between household members may allow transmission to occur. Transmission is also possible through prolonged contact with infested linens, furniture, or clothing. It is unlikely that scabies would be transmitted during casual contact (e.g. shaking hands or hugging) or contact with inanimate objects, such as a toilet seat.

The type of scabies that infest humans is specific to human beings and are different than the type that infest dogs and other animals, more commonly known as mange. Mites from animals infested with mange can burrow into human skin but cannot reproduce, and therefore die within a few days.

How long before symptoms appear?

If a person has never been infected with scabies before, symptoms appear approximately 4 to 6 weeks after infection. If a person has been infected with scabies before, he/she will begin to experience symptoms within 1 to 4 days after infection, because of previous exposure to scabies.

How long is a person considered infectious?

A person is considered infectious from the time he/she becomes infected until treatment is successfully completed. Linens and clothing are considered infectious until treatment or until 2 weeks after the last exposure. After treatment, a person may unknowingly become reinfested through exposure to the primary source of contact or contact with a different infested source.

Symptoms

Common sites of infestation are: webs and sides of fingers and toes, pubic and groin area, armpits, bends of elbows and knees, wrists, navel, breasts, lower portion of buttocks, penis and scrotum, waist and abdomen; rarely, they are found on the palms of the hands, the soles of the feet and the neck upward.soles of the feet and the neck upward.

Testing/Diagnosis

Microscopic Exams of Scrapings from Suspicious Lesion(s). Scrapings are placed on a slide and examined under a microscope to determine whether scabies are present.

Burrow Ink Test (BIT). The suspicious area is rubbed with ink from a fountain pen. The surface is then wiped off with an alcohol pad; if the person is infected with scabies, the characteristic zigzag or S pattern of the burrow across the skin will appear.

Topical Tetracycline Solution. A topical tetracycline solution may be applied to the suspicious area as an alternative to the BIT. The excess solution is wiped off the area with alcohol and examined under a special light to see if the characteristic zigzag or S pattern of the burrow appear.

Shave Biopsies. A very fine layer of skin is shaved off at the possible site of infestation and examined under a microscope for evidence of mites.

Needle Extraction of Mites. A needle is carefully inserted into the length of the burrow where the mite is likely living. The mite is then extracted with the needle and placed on a slide to be examined under a microscope.

Treatment

Recommended Treatment

Alternative Treatments

What Else Do I Need to Do to Get Rid of Scabies?

Retest for cure is advised if new burrows or rashes appear. NOTE: Current rashes and itching may continue for 2-3 weeks even after successful treatment. reduce exposure to all STDs.

What does it mean for my health?

Scabies does not usually cause anything more than discomfort and inconvenience. Occasionally, secondary bacterial infections may occur due to aggressive scratching.

Crusted scabies, also known as Norwegian scabies, is a severe infestation of scabies. This normally occurs in people with compromised immune systems, such as the elderly and HIV-infected individuals.

Reduce your risk

Source: www.ashastd.org/learn/learn_scabies_facts.cfm

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