Symptoms and Signs of Scabies

Medical Author:
Medically Reviewed on 11/19/2021

Doctor's Notes on Scabies

Scabies is a contagious skin disease caused by an infestation of the skin by a mite known as Sarcoptes scabiei.  It is transmitted from person to person by direct skin contact with an infected person. Sexual contact is also a common means of transmission. 

Signs and symptoms of scabies include itching that can become very severe, especially at night. There is an associated rash that appears to resemble pimples. Scabies rash is most commonly seen around the wrists, armpits, elbows, between the fingers and toes, around the nails, and in areas of skin skin usually covered by clothing including the buttocks, belt line, nipples, and penis. Another associated symptom is the presence of "burrows," which are thin gray, brown, or red lines on the skin that lead away from the bumps.

What Is the Treatment for Scabies?

Scabies can be cured by treatment with prescription scabicide drugs. There are no approved over-the-counter preparations or home remedies that have proven to be effective in eliminating scabies.

Prescription topical medications are applied directly to the affected area to treat the condition. An oral medication may also be given if the topical medications are not effective or cannot be tolerated by the patient.

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Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.