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(skā`bēz), highly contagious parasitic skin disease caused by the itch mite (Sarcoptes scabiei). The disease is also known as itch. It is acquired through close contact with an infested individual or contaminated clothing and is most prevalent among those living in crowded and unhygienic conditions. The female mite burrows her way into the skin, depositing eggs along the tunnel. The larvae hatch in several days and find their way into the hair follicles. Itching is most intense at night because of the nocturnal activity of the parasites. Aside from the burrows, which are usually clearly visible, there are a variety of skin lesions, many of them brought on by scratching and infection, including impetigo. All clothing and bedding of the victim and his household should be disinfected. Disinfestation of the skin is accomplished by applying creams or lotions containing permethrin or gamma-hexachlorocyclohexane or by taking ivermectin. A variety of S. scabiei causes mangemange
, contagious skin disease of domestic and wild animals. The several types of mange, including follicular and sarcoptic mange, are caused by various minute parasitic mites that burrow into skin, hair follicles, or sweat glands.
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 in animals.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2013, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



a contagious skin disease of humans caused by the itch mite. Scabies occurs after direct contact with various objects and clothing of a person suffering from scabies.

Seven to ten days after infection, a rash appears in the form of tiny nodules, blisters, and slightly raised straight or curved lines about 1 cm in length (mite burrows). The rash occurs in the folds between the fingers, on the sides of the fingers, at the bends of the upper limbs, and on the front and sides of the trunk; in children, it occurs all over the body. The rash is produced by fertilized female mites, which bore into the epidermis, where they deposit their eggs. Mite reproduction is very rapid: about 150 million individuals appear within three months. Persons afflicted with scabies are disturbed by severe itching, especially at night, and in warm conditions. Ulcerations often form on the skin as a result of infections brought on by excessive scratching.

Treatment involves the application to the affected areas of Wilkinson ointment, a 33 percent sulfur ointment, a 20–25 percent soap and water emulsion of benzyl benzoate, a 60 percent sodium thiosulfate solution, or a 6 percent solution of hydrochloric acid. Scabies can be prevented by the observance of the rules of personal hygiene, periodic examination of children’s groups, and the isolation and treatment of individuals afflicted with scabies and the disinfection of their belongings.


Mashkilleison, L. N. Infektsionnye i parazitarnye bolezni kozhi. Moscow, 1960.
Kozhnye i venericheskie bolezni, 3rd ed. Moscow, 1975.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


A contagious skin disorder caused by the mite Sarcoptes scabiei burrowing beneath the skin, causing the formation of multiform lesions with intense itching.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.


a contagious skin infection caused by the mite Sarcoptes scabiei, characterized by intense itching, inflammation, and the formation of vesicles and pustules
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
References in periodicals archive ?
In the Middle East region, very few detailed epidemiological studies about scabies epidemiology have been conducted, especially in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
Whitfield, together with epidemiologist Lucia Romani, PhD, both of the University of New South Wales, Sydney, and coinvestigators, demonstrated large and sustained decreases in the rates of scabies and impetigo (N Engl J Med.
For further information, search for scabies on Where to find reliable health information online.
In an observational, multicenter, prospective study conducted between June 2015 and January 2017, 47 pediatric patients with common scabies, including 3 children under 2 years of age, presented with mites on the first toenail/thumbnail; 2 of them had already completed treatment and were experiencing relapse.
Yet, persistence of clinical signs despite treatment and suspected subsequent transmission from domestic animals to humans is not fully consistent with the self-limiting pattern described for zoonotic scabies, although reinfection of domestic animals by other foxes with mange could have occurred.
A total of 239 male patients were found to be suffering from scabies. These patients were grouped into five categories based on their age at the first visit.
Scabies mites can only be seen crawling on the surface of the skin or on clothes and furniture with a magnifying glass or microscope, which can make diagnosis difficult.
from " A Scottish Prison Service spokeswoman said: "A small number of individuals have been confirmed as having scabies. NHS Forth Valley health protection team are providing advice.
In between the fingers (in the webspaces) are common places for a scabies mite to live, as are the inner surfaces of the wrists, waistbands, under watches and rings.
6-7) on upper legs and diagnosed scabies by the referred physician.
Scabies (21.7%) and atopic dermatitis (21.4%) were the most common dermatoses.