Scabies is a contagious disease caused by the mite Sarcoptes scabiei var hominis.
The affected individual usually complains of having a highly pruritic rash that occurs at night.
It occurs more often in children <15 years of age, sexually active young adults, the immunocompromised and in persons living in crowded living conditions (eg nursing homes, military barracks).
Transmission is typically by direct skin contact with an infected person and in adults, sexual transmission is common.

Patient Education

Prevention of Disease Transmission

  • Patient & close physical contacts should be educated about scabies transmission & the necessary steps to prevent spread
  • It is important to treat the infested individuals & their close physical contacts at the same time to avoid re-infestation
  • Infected individuals should avoid skin-to-skin contact w/ non-infected persons
  • To help avoid transmission by fomites hygienic measure should be undertaken
    • Infected individual should use clean/fresh clothing or bedding after treatment
    • Wash potentially contaminated clothes, towels & bedding at high temperature (>50°C) or store them in plastic bags for at least 72 hr
    • There is no need to clean coats, furniture, rugs, floors or walls in any special manner

Disease Treatment

  • Educate the patient & the patient’s close physical contacts about the disease treatment
  • Patient should be made aware that itching may persist for up to 1-2 wk after the end of appropriate treatment
  • The patient should be thoroughly educated about the application of the treatment, & supplementation w/ written instructions may be helpful
    • Verbal & written instructions should include: The amt of drug to be applied, how the treatment should be applied & where to apply the treatment 
  • Infants & young children: The entire body surface from the neck down should be covered & if necessary, include the scalp & face (avoid the areas around the eyes & mouth)
  • Older children & adults: Apply from the neck down, w/ particular attention to intensely involved areas eg folds, groin, navel, tips of the fingers & under the nails esp in crusted scabies
  • If the patient applies the topical treatment him/herself, the hands should not be washed after application
    • If treatment is applied by a non-infected person, the person should wear disposable gloves
  • The nails should be cut short
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