An epidemiologic and therapeutic reassessment of scabies

Cutis. 2000 Apr;65(4):233-40.


Scabies is a highly contagious infestation that causes considerable discomfort. Newer information concerning therapeutics and epidemiologic dogma needs assessment. An epidemiologic evaluation of available world data is analyzed, as well as an assessment of therapeutic alternatives. Using epidemiologic techniques, the following points are proven: scabies is not primarily a sexually transmitted disease; 30-year cycles of scabies do not exist; scabies spreads in households and neighborhoods in which there is a high frequency of intimate personal contact or sharing of inanimate objects; and fomite transmission is a major factor in household and nosocomial passage of scabies. Epidemiologic evaluation proves the necessity of fomite precautions and of treatment of asymptomatic family members and physical contacts of all cases of scabies. Single oral-dose therapy of ivermectin (Stromectol) appears to be the treatment panacea for this infestation.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antiprotozoal Agents / therapeutic use
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Ivermectin / therapeutic use
  • Mites
  • Scabies / drug therapy*
  • Scabies / epidemiology*
  • Scabies / pathology


  • Antiprotozoal Agents
  • Ivermectin