Dermatol Ther. 2009 Jul-Aug;22(4):279-92. doi: 10.1111/j.1529-8019.2009.01243.x.


Scabies is an ectoparasite caused by the mite Sarcoptes scabiei var hominis, an obligate human parasite. There are about 300 million cases of scabies in the world each year. Common predisposing factors are overcrowding, immigration, poor hygiene, poor nutritional status, homelessness, dementia, and sexual contact. Direct skin-to-skin contact between 15 and 20 minutes is needed to transfer the mites from one person to another. The diagnosis suspected with a clinical history of itch, worse at night, affecting other family members, clinical distribution, and appearance. Definite diagnosis relies on microscopic identification of the mites, eggs, or fecal pellets with 10% potassium hydroxide, ink enhancement, tetracycline fluorescence tests, or mineral oil; other methods include: epiluminescence light microscopy and S. scabiei DNA. The most commonly used treatment modalities are permethrin and ivermectin. Persistence of symptoms for 2-6 weeks after successful treatment is common. Most recurrences are because of reinfection from untreated contacts.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Humans
  • Insecticides / therapeutic use*
  • Ivermectin / therapeutic use
  • Permethrin / therapeutic use
  • Recurrence
  • Sarcoptes scabiei*
  • Scabies / diagnosis
  • Scabies / drug therapy*
  • Scabies / transmission


  • Insecticides
  • Permethrin
  • Ivermectin