Scabies is an itchy skin condition caused by the microscopic mite Sarcoptes scabei. It is common all over the world, and can affect anyone. 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 sometimes spread scabies. This can happen much more easily when the infested person has crusted scabies. You cannot get scabies from a pet. Pets get a different mite infection called mange.
- Pimple-like irritations or a rash
- Intense itching, especially at night
- Sores caused by scratching
Your health care provider diagnoses scabies by looking at the skin rash and finding burrows in the skin.
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. Treatment is also recommended for household members and sexual partners.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- Scabies: Tips for Managing (American Academy of Dermatology)
- Scabies: Workplace Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
- Travelers' Health: Scabies (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
- Scabies (Logical Images)
- ClinicalTrials.gov: Scabies (National Institutes of Health)
Journal ArticlesReferences and abstracts from MEDLINE/PubMed (National Library of Medicine)
Find an Expert
- American Academy of Dermatology
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Available in Spanish
- Find a Dermatologist (American Academy of Dermatology)
- National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases