Human scabies is caused by an infestation of the skin by the human itch mite (Sarcoptes scabiei var. hominis). The microscopic scabies mite burrows into the upper layer of the skin where it lives and lays its eggs. The most common symptoms of scabies are intense itching and a pimple-like skin rash. The scabies mite usually is spread by direct, prolonged, skin-to-skin contact with a person who has scabies.
Good hygiene is important to prevent and control scabies:
- Bedding, clothing, and towels used by infested persons or their close contacts anytime during the three days before treatment should be decontaminated by washing in hot water and drying in a hot dryer, by dry-cleaning, or by sealing in a plastic bag for at least 72 hours.
For more information on scabies, please visit CDC’s scabies page.
- Page last reviewed: December 28, 2009
- Page last updated: December 28, 2009
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