Early detection, treatment, and implementation of appropriate isolation and infection control practices are essential in preventing scabies outbreaks. Institutions should maintain a high index of suspicion that undiagnosed skin rashes and conditions may be scabies, even if characteristic signs or symptoms of scabies are absent (e.g. no itching). New patients and employees should be screened carefully and evaluated for any skin conditions that could be compatible with scabies. The onset of scabies in a staff person who has had scabies before can be an early warning sign of undetected scabies in a patient. Skin scrapings should be obtained and examined carefully by a person who is trained and experienced in identifying scabies mites. Appropriate isolation and infection control practices (e.g. gloves, gowns, avoidance of direct skin-to-skin contact, etc.) should be used when providing hands-on care to patients who might have scabies. Epidemiologic and clinical information about confirmed and suspected scabies patients should be collected and used for systematic review in order to facilitate early identification of and response to potential outbreaks.

Most recent reports recommend an aggressive approach to preventing and controlling scabies in institutions, particularly when crusted (Norwegian) scabies is confirmed or suspected.

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Page last reviewed: November 2, 2010