PUBLIC HEALTH FACT SHEET
What is Scabies?
Scabies is a skin disease caused by the “itch mite.” These mites live in burrows dug into the top layers of the skin. The burrows contain the mites and their eggs.
How is it spread?
Scabies is spread by direct skin-to-skin contact with infested individuals. It can also be acquired during sexual contact, or from contaminated undergarments and bedclothes.
How is it treated?
Scabies is diagnosed by a physician, who can prescribe a lotion or cream containing a scabicide medication. In addition to this medication, there are other scabicides available for pregnant women and infants under one year of age.
How can we prevent Scabies?
Infested persons should be excluded from school or work for 24 hours after treatment. Bedding and clothing worn by the infested person should be washed in hot soapy water, and dried in a hot dryer. Freshly laundered clothing should be worn after each bath/shower and treatment.
SYMPTOMS OF SCABIES
- Symptoms usually occur 2-6 weeks after exposure, but can occur up to 2 months after exposure.
- A red, itchy rash occurs at sites of burrows such as spaces between fingers, backs of hands, elbows, armpits, groin, breasts, umbilicus, penis, small of back and buttocks.
- Itching may continue for 2-3 weeks, even after effective treatment.