What You Need to Know About Scabies

Topics: Scabies, Sarcoptes scabiei, Allergy Pages: 7 (2195 words) Published: May 14, 2013
The characteristic symptoms of a scabies infection include intense itching and superficial burrows.[4] The burrow tracks are often linear, to the point that a neat "line" of four or more closely placed and equally developed mosquito-like "bites" is almost diagnostic of the disease. Itching [edit]

In the classic scenario, the itch is made worse by warmth and is usually experienced as being worse at night, possibly because there are fewer distractions.[4] As a symptom, it is less common in the elderly.[4] Rash [edit]

The superficial burrows of scabies usually occur in the area of the hands, feet, wrists, elbows, back, buttocks, and external genitals.[4] Except in infants and the immunosuppressed, infection generally does not occur in the skin of the face or scalp. The burrows are created by excavation of the adult mite in the epidermis.[4] In most people, the trails of the burrowing mites show as linear or s-shaped tracks in the skin, often accompanied by what appear as rows of small pimple-like mosquito or insect bites. These signs are often found in crevices of the body, such as on the webs of fingers and toes, around the genital area, and under the breasts of women.[5] Symptoms typically appear two to six weeks after infestation for individuals never before exposed to scabies. For those having been previously exposed, the symptoms can appear within several days after infestation. However, it is not unknown for symptoms to appear after several months or years.[6] Acropustulosis, or blisters and pustules on the palms and soles of the feet, are characteristic symptoms of scabies in infants.[5] *

Commonly involved sites of rashes of scabies[7]
Scabies of the foot
Scabies of the arm
Scabies of the hand
Scabies of the finger
Crusted scabies [edit]

Crusted scabies in a person with AIDS
The elderly and people with an impaired immune system, such as HIV, cancer, or those on immunosuppressive medications, are susceptible to crusted scabies (formerly called Norwegian scabies).[4][6][8] On those with a weaker immune system, the host becomes a more fertile breeding ground for the mites, which spread over the host's body, except the face. Sufferers of crusted scabies exhibit scaly rashes, slight itching, and thick crusts of skin that contain thousands of mites.[9] Such areas make eradication of mites particularly difficult, as the crusts protect the mites from topical miticides, necessitating prolonged treatment of these areas.

Cause [edit]
Main article: Sarcoptes scabiei

Video of the Sarcoptes scabiei mite

Life cycle of scabies[7]
In the 18th century, Italian biologist Diacinto Cestoni (1637–1718) described the mite now called Sarcoptes scabiei, variety hominis, as the cause of scabies. Sarcoptes is a genus of skin parasites and part of the larger family of mites collectively known as scab mites. These organisms have eight legs as adults, and are placed in the same phylogenetic class (Arachnida) as spiders and ticks. Sarcoptes scabiei are microscopic, but sometimes are visible as pinpoints of white. Pregnant females tunnel into the dead, outermost layer (stratum corneum) of a host's skin and deposit eggs in the shallow burrows. The eggs hatch into larvae in three to ten days. These young mites move about on the skin and molt into a "nymphal" stage, before maturing as adults, which live three to four weeks in the host's skin. Males roam on top of the skin, occasionally burrowing into the skin. In general, there are usually few mites on a healthy hygienic person infested with non-crusted scabies; approximately eleven females in burrows can be found on such a person.[10] The movement of mites within and on the skin produces an intense itch, which has the characteristics of a delayed cell-mediated inflammatory response to allergens. IgE antibodies are present in the serum and the site of infection, which react to multiple protein allergens in the body of the mite. Some of these...
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