scabies a poorly recognized parasitic infection

In the next blog we are going to discuss the topic of scabies, a parasitic infection that affects approximately 300 million people in the world. The topic is for general population, so medical personnel should refer to the bibliography at the end of the blog (we recommend bibliography 3).

What is scabies?

It is the parasitic infection caused by the Sarcoptes scabiei variant hominis. It principally affects the skin where there is no hair generating pruritus (itching) with greater intensity at night. Once the parasite is acquired, it can take up to 3 weeks for the first symptoms to appear.

It is more frequent during winter given the confinement of the people.

Basically what the parasite does is to enter into one of the layers of the skin and begin to “dig” approximately 2 to 3 mm per day, making tunnels in the skin, while doing this, it lays eggs that with over time they will mature into adult parasites 

How does one get the parasite?

The contagion is made by direct contact, skin to skin, between an infested person and one who is not, this includes contact during sexual intercourse. The contagion can also be with fomites (non-animated objects) such as clothes, towels, sheets and / or blankets.

Can you get scabies from pets?

There are different parasite variables for various animals including dogs and cats, however, although one can contract the parasite from a pet, these parasites cannot live in humans for long. Therefore, the only way to have a prolonged infestation with these parasite variants of pets is to have repeated contact with the infested animal.

What symptoms does scabies produce?

The main symptom is itching that worsens at night. In adults it is seen more frequently on the wrists, buttocks, genital area, nipples, inguinal region and palms. In children on the scalp, face, neck, palms and soles. It is usual to find more than one affected person in the family nucleus.

What can appear on the skin?

Remembering that the parasite moves through the skin, we can find grooves that sometimes end in a papule-type lesion where the parasite is found (he also has to sleep like us), but usually we find that the papules disappear caused for the scratching and instead we can find a scab or scratching stigmas.

Other lesions that we can observe are vesicles or nodules.

This parasitosis can be complicated by bacterial infections since the person can introduce the bacteria into the areas previously affected by the parasite by scratching.

Biobliografía 3.

How is this disease diagnosed?

It is suspected if there is a person who presents predominantly nocturnal itching, in the areas usually affected by the parasite, all this associated with similar symptoms in relatives. It is the physician who, through the patient’s history and the physical examination, must conclude whether or not there is scabies. 

An accurate diagnosis is made by observing the parasite itself or its eggs. 

There are multiple diagnostic methods including: tape test, scraping, biopsy, dermatoscope, or others.

What diseases resemble scabies?

From atopic dermatitis to psoriasis. That is why when we present some of the symptoms mentioned above we must assist our family doctor to make the proper diagnosis.

What is the treatment for scabies?

There are topical medications (applied only to the skin) and oral medications, the decision about which to administer depends on the patient’s condition, however, this decision should be made by your family physician. Please, for the general population is advised not to administer medications empirically (without medical indication) since it can change the characteristics of the lesions and make the diagnosis more difficult.

It should be remembered that apart from drug treatment there are some recommendations that the patient must comply with the recommendations are:

  • Identify the people who are also affected to direct them to their family physician.
  • Have a proper hygiene pattern and brush your nails (sometimes parasites hide under the nails).
  • Avoid sexual intercourse while treatment is complete.
  • Wash the clothes with water above 60 ° and let them dry in the sunlight.
  • Things that cannot be washed, bagged for 7-10 days (since the parasite cannot survive more than 72 hours outside of a human)

For medical personnel, the reading of bibliography number 3, which contains the guidelines for treatment and proper patient management, is indicated.


We can conclude that the parasitic infection known as scabies is a widely disseminated infection, with particular symptoms that allow a diagnosis based on the clinic, so it is recommended that if the general population presents similar symptoms, they should attend their doctor as soon as possible. . Since proper therapeutic management is safe and effective. 


  1. – Escabiosis. V. García-Patos Briones
  3. ChanCo-RamíRez, G., Ballona-ChamBeRGo, R., & Ramos, W. (2017). Escabiosis (sarna): Revisión epidemiológica, clínica, patogénica y terapéutica. Dermatol peru, 27(2), 79. 

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.