Scabies is a highly contagious skin infection caused by the human itch mite. By burrowing into the upper layer of the skin, the microscopic mites infect humans. The obvious symptoms are skin rash which are red blisters and bumps which affect specific regions of the body, there can also be tiny burrows which are red on the skin and intense itching which results to frequent scratching making the skin vulnerable to secondary infections (Scabies: Diagnosis, treatment, and outcome 1). The infection, which occurs worldwide is spread directly by continued skin to-skin contact with an infected person. Scabies spreads fast under crowded settings where close body contact is common e.g. prisons (Parasites-Scabies 1). The other common form of transmission of scabies is through sexual contact among sexually active youth, and considered by many to be an STD although that is not the case. Less common scabies infestations can be through sharing beddings and clothes with an infected person.
The human itch mite is an eight legged bug which cannot be seen on the skin because it is too small (microscopic). The female mite burrows into the uppermost layer of the skin to fed and live (Oarkley 13). A very itchy rash is developed when the skin responds to the bug due to allergic reaction to the mite proteins. Many people develop the scabies rash which causes tiny bumps that mostly form a line. The bumps can look like tiny bites, hives, pimples or lumps under the skin. Some people may develop scaly patches which look like eczema (Scabies: Diagnosis, treatment, and outcome 3). In cases of severe type of scabies known as Norwegian scabies, thick crust forms on the skin. The crust hosts hundreds to thousands of mites and their eggs. For a person who has had the infection before, it only takes 1-4days for the itching to start. It takes 2-6 weeks for a person who has not had scabies before to develop symptoms.
Scabies develops anywhere on the skin however certain body parts are common; around nails and between fingers, elbows and wrists and skin usually covered by jewelry or clothing like the belt line, around nipples, buttocks and the penis. Mite can travel from an infected person to another person who is not infected, thus transmission. There are a million cases of scabies yearly worldwide. Scabies does not discriminate therefore anyone can get it. It affects people of all races, ages, and income levels, including people who are clean (Parasites-Scabies 1).
Scabies is treatable and a dermatologist can diagnose it by examining the patients skin visually. To be certain, a tiny bit of the patients skin can be scrapped off and examined further under a microscope to see scabies mites or eggs (Oarkley 14). There are prescription medicines for people diagnosed with scabies and any person who has had close contact with the patient including people who have not shown any signs of scabies (Oarkley 16). This will avert new occurrences of scabies in the coming weeks. The treatment should get rid of the bugs, eradicate symptoms such as itchiness and treat any infection that developed (Scabies: Diagnosis, treatment, and outcome 6). The rash and itchiness can get worse during the treatment but within four weeks the skin should be healed. Repeated treatment is needed for people who have Norwegian scabies to get rid of the numerous mites. To avoid repeated scabies occurrences, beddings, clothes and towels need to be disinfected to get rid of mites which may have fallen off the infected persons skin.
BIBLIOGRAPHY Oarkley, Amanda. "Scabies." Diagnosis and Management 9 October 2015: 12-16.
Parasites-Scabies. 9 October 2015. <http://www.cdc.gov/parasites/scabies/>.
"Scabies: Diagnosis, treatment, and outcome." 9 October 2015. American Academy of Dermatology. <https://www.aad.org/dermatology-a-to-z/diseases-and-treatments/q---t/scabies/diagnosis-treatment>.
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