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Lancet Infect Dis. 2015 Aug;15(8):960-7. doi: 10.1016/S1473-3099(15)00132-2. Epub 2015 Jun 15.

Prevalence of scabies and impetigo worldwide: a systematic review.

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Kirby Institute, University of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW, Australia. Electronic address:
Centre for International Child Health, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, VIC, Australia; Group A Streptococcal Research Group, Murdoch Childrens Research Institute, Melbourne, VIC, Australia; Department of General Medicine, Royal Children's Hospital, Melbourne, VIC, Australia.
Department of Dermatology, St Vincent's Hospital, Sydney, NSW, Australia.
Kirby Institute, University of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW, Australia.


Scabies is a skin disease that, through secondary bacterial skin infection (impetigo), can lead to serious complications such as septicaemia, renal disease, and rheumatic heart disease. Yet the worldwide prevalence of scabies is uncertain. We undertook a systematic review, searching several databases and the grey literature, for population-based studies that reported on the prevalence of scabies and impetigo in a community setting. All included studies were assessed for quality. 2409 articles were identified and 48 studies were included. Data were available for all regions except North America. The prevalence of scabies ranged from 0·2% to 71·4%. All regions except for Europe and the Middle East included populations with a prevalence greater than 10%. Overall, scabies prevalence was highest in the Pacific and Latin American regions, and was substantially higher in children than in adolescents and adults. Impetigo was common, particularly in children, with the highest prevalence in Australian Aboriginal communities (49·0%). Comprehensive scabies control strategies are urgently needed, such as a community-based mass drug administration approach, along with a more systematic approach to the monitoring of disease burden.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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