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Am J Clin Dermatol. 2002;3(1):9-18.

Diagnosis and treatment of scabies: a practical guide.

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Hospital General de Agudos Dr. Cosme Argerich, Buenos Aires, Argentina.


Scabies is a common, highly pruritic infestation of the skin caused by Sarcoptes scabiei var. Hominis. It is a very contagious parasitosis with specific lesions, such as burrows, and nonspecific lesions, such as papules, vesicles and excoriations. The typical areas of the body it affects are finger webs, wrists, axillary folds, abdomen, buttocks, inframammary folds and, in men, the genitalia. It is characterized by intense nocturnal pruritus. Scabies is spread through close personal contact (relatives, sexual partners, schoolchildren, chronically ill patients and crowded communities). Definitive diagnosis is made when the scabies mites or their eggs or fecal pellets can be identified on a light microscope. New techniques for diagnosis include the use of the epiluminiscence microscopy. The most common topical treatments for scabies include lindane and permethrin. Permethrin provides a greater margin of tolerability because of its low inherent toxicity and low percutaneous absorption. Oral ivermectin is the most recently developed treatment for scabies. A single oral dose of ivermectin 200 microg/kg of bodyweight is a well-tolerated and very effective treatment. It is especially indicated in crusted scabies, scabies in immunocompromised hosts and infestations in crowded communities. It is also useful as a simple treatment in the prophylaxis of close contacts.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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