Background: Scabies is a skin disease caused by an obligate human parasite mite Sarcoptes
scabiei var. hominis. Children under the age of two and elderly individuals are at the greatest
risk. Knowledge of this condition is important for an early diagnosis to be made and treatment
to be initiated.
Objective: The review aimed to familiarize physicians with the clinical manifestations, diagnosis,
evaluation, and management of scabies.
Methods: A search was conducted using Pubmed with the built-in "Clinical Queries" tool. The
search term "Scabies" was used. The categories of "epidemiology", "diagnosis", "therapy", "prevention"
and "prognosis" had a limited scope for primary clinical studies. Meta-analyses, randomized
controlled trials, clinical trials, observational studies, and reviews were included. Only papers
published in the English language were included. A descriptive, narrative synthesis was provided of
the retrieved articles.
Results: Worldwide, scabies affects 200 to 300 million individuals annually. The average prevalence
is estimated to be 5 to 10% in children of developing countries. Transmission usually occurs
after close prolonged skin-to-skin contact. Classic scabies is characterized by an erythematous
papular eruption, serpiginous burrows, and intense pruritus. Sites of predilection include the webs
of the fingers, volar wrists, lateral aspects of fingers, extensor surfaces of elbows and knees, waist,
navel, abdomen, buttocks, groins, and, genitals. A clinical diagnosis of classic scabies can be made
on the basis of the history and clinical findings. Other clinical variants include crusted scabies,
nodular scabies, and bullous scabies. Finding the mite, ova, or fecal pellets on microscopic examination
of scrapings taken from skin lesions confirms the diagnosis of scabies infestation. For eradication
of scabies mites, the drugs of choice are topical permethrin and oral ivermectin.
Conclusion: Scabies is a highly contagious parasitic cutaneous disease that is stigmatising and debilitating.
Increased awareness, accurate diagnosis, and prompt treatment are essential for the effective
control of scabies and for the prevention of the spread of the disease.