Scabies is an infestation of the skin. It is caused by a tiny mite.
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An infestation results when the female mite burrows into the skin and lays its eggs. The scabies mite does not suck blood. It does not transmit any disease other than scabies between people.Scabies is highly contagious. Most often, it is passed from person to person through:
  • Close and generally prolonged physical contact
  • Sexual contact
Scabies can also spread from person to person by sharing:
  • Clothing
  • Towels
  • Bedding
Scabies can occasionally also be acquired from certain mammals. It is most common from dogs with sarcoptic mange. Scabies from dogs differs somewhat from human scabies. It rarely passes from person to person.

Risk Factors

Children younger than 15 years of age and adults older than 65 years are at greater risk for this condition. Factors that increase your chance of scabies include:
  • Sexual contact with new or multiple partners
  • Close, physical contact with a person who has scabies
  • Living in close quarters with others, such as in a nursing home or military barracks
  • A weakened immune system
  • Close contact with an animal with scabies


Symptoms of scabies include:
  • Intense itching, usually worse at night
  • Small red bumps, pimples, or lines on the skin
In more severe cases, the infested area may:
  • Appear crusty
  • Become infected and discharge pus
Scabies rarely affects the face or head. While any other body area, or even the whole body, may be involved, areas most often affected include:
  • Hands, especially between the fingers
  • Wrists and elbows
  • Feet
  • Genitals and pubic area (especially in men)
  • Buttocks
  • Around the nipples (especially in women)
  • Waistline
  • Belly button and lower abdomen
  • Areas where clothing is tight
  • Under rings, watches, or jewelry

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