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Curr Infect Dis Rep. 2013 Oct;15(5):426-31. doi: 10.1007/s11908-013-0354-0.

Diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of scabies.

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Department of Medicine, University of Miami, Miami, FL, USA.


Scabies remains a public health problem, especially in developing countries, with a worldwide incidence of approximately 300 million cases each year. Prolonged skin-to-skin contact is necessary to allow the transmission of the causative mite, Sarcoptes scabiei. Classic scabies presents with burrows, erythematous papules, and generalized pruritus. Clinical variants include nodular scabies and crusted scabies, also called Norwegian scabies. The diagnosis is based mainly on history and physical examination, but definitive diagnosis depends on direct visualization of the mites under microscopy. Alternative diagnostic methods include the burrow ink test, video-dermatoscopy, newly serologic tests like PCR/ELISA, and specific IgE directed toward major mite components. Treatment of scabies consists of either topical permethrin or oral ivermectin, although the optimal regimen is still unclear.


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