Sarcoptes scabiei in a sexually transmitted infections unit: a 15-year study

Sex Transm Dis. 2004 Dec;31(12):761-5. doi: 10.1097/01.olq.0000145853.35574.18.


Background: Few epidemiologic studies of scabies in sexually transmitted infection (STI) unit attenders exist.

Goal: The goal of this study was to determine epidemiology and trends of infestation among attenders at a Spanish STI unit.

Study: A prospective 15-year (1988-2002) study was conducted of 9751 STI unit attenders, investigating scabies and other STIs.

Results: One hundred forty-seven patients (1.5%) had scabies, which was more frequent in males (2.1%, 73 of 3623) than in females (1.2%, 72 of 6128) (P <0.001). Infestation peaked in autumn/winter (70.1%) versus spring/summer (29.9%) (P <0.001). Significantly more cases occurred in single men (P <0.05), males under 35 (P <0.05), men with sporadic sexual contacts (P <0.001), and men who have sex with men (MSM) (P <0.001). In women, more cases occurred in Spanish patients (P <0.01), high alcohol users (P <0.05), and oral contraceptive users (P <0.01). In both sexes, scabies was commoner in smokers (P <0.05) and parenteral drug abusers (P <0.001). Scabies showed no significant association with other STIs.

Conclusions: Scabies incidence has been stable, with autumn and winter peaks. Infestation is associated with lifestyle, MSM, and males with sporadic sexual contact.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Animals
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Sarcoptes scabiei*
  • Scabies / epidemiology*
  • Scabies / etiology
  • Seasons
  • Sexually Transmitted Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Sexually Transmitted Diseases / etiology
  • Spain / epidemiology
  • Substance-Related Disorders