Diagnosis of a scabies infestation usually is made based upon the customary appearance and distribution of the the rash and the presence of burrows.

Whenever possible, the diagnosis of scabies should be confirmed by identifying the mite or mite eggs or fecal matter (scybala). This can be done by carefully removing the mite from the end of its burrow using the tip of a needle or by obtaining a skin scraping to examine under a microscope for mites, eggs, or mite fecal matter (scybala). However, a person can still be infested even if mites, eggs, or fecal matter cannot be found; fewer then 10-15 mites may be present on an infested person who is otherwise healthy.

Page last reviewed: November 2, 2010