Scabies is an infectious skin disease caused by an infestation of Sarcoptes scabiei aka the Human Itch Mite. The itch mite burrows into the epidermis where it lays it's eggs.
Transmission and Contagiousness
Scabies can be easily transmitted from person to person through direct skin-to-skin contact. Scabies can be transmitted from person to person even if the first person shows no symptoms yet. Humans are the only transmitters of the disease. It is common worldwide and it most commonly transmitted through sexual activity. It is very contagious and it can also be spread through the contamination of items like clothing and bedding.
Symptoms and Diagnosis
- Itching, a skin rash
- Occasionally raised line on the skin occur (tiny burrows)
There are usually no symptons though for the first 2-6 weeks, even though the infection is still spreading.
Scabies is diagnosed by the severeness and location of the skin rash. A doctor can also find the itch mite or it's eggs by scraping of the rash's area.
Human Scabies is not very virulent and can be treated with prescribed medicine called Scabicide. Scabicide lotion should be applied all over the body from the neck to the toes. Bedding and clothing used while infected, by the infected person and anyone in contact with them should be washed in hot water and dried using heat. The itch mite can not survive for more than 2-3 days away from human skin. Treatment is very effective, although the itching may continue for 2 weeks after treatment. Scabies does not cause death, just severe discomfort.