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Parasite Immunol. 2014 Nov;36(11):585-93. doi: 10.1111/pim.12133.

Parasitic scabies mites and associated bacteria joining forces against host complement defence.

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Biology Department, QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute, Infectious Diseases Program, Brisbane, Qld, Australia.


Scabies is a ubiquitous and contagious skin disease caused by the parasitic mite Sarcoptes scabiei Epidemiological studies have identified scabies as a causative agent for secondary skin infections caused by Staphylococcus aureus and Streptococcus pyogenes. This is an important notion, as such bacterial infections can lead to serious downstream life-threatening complications. As the complement system is the first line of host defence that confronts invading pathogens, both the mite and bacteria produce a large array of molecules that inhibit the complement cascades. It is hypothesised that scabies mite complement inhibitors may play an important role in providing a favourable micro-environment for the establishment of secondary bacterial infections. This review aims to bring together the current literature on complement inhibition by scabies mites and bacteria associated with scabies and to discuss the proposed molecular link between scabies and bacterial co-infections.


Staphylococcus aureus - bacteria; Streptococcus pyogenes - bacteria; coinfection - disease; complement - immunological terms; human - host species; sarcoptes - parasite

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