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PLoS Negl Trop Dis. 2016 Jun 16;10(6):e0004691. doi: 10.1371/journal.pntd.0004691. eCollection 2016 Jun.

Scabies: Advances in Noninvasive Diagnosis.

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Dermatology Clinic, University of Catania, Catania, Italy.
Department of Dermatology and Allergy, Hôpital Tenon, Paris, France.
Dermatology and Pathology, Rutgers University New Jersey Medical School, Newark, New Jersey, United States of America.


Scabies is a common, highly contagious skin parasitosis caused by Sarcoptes scabiei var. hominis. Early identification and prompt treatment of infested subjects is essential, as missed diagnosis may result in outbreaks, considerable morbidity, and significantly increased economic burden. The standard diagnostic technique consists of mites' identification by microscopic examination of scales obtained by skin scraping. This is a time-consuming and risk-associated procedure that is also not suitable to a busy practice. In recent years, some advanced and noninvasive techniques such as videodermatoscopy, dermatoscopy, reflectance confocal microscopy, and optical coherence tomography have demonstrated improved efficacy in the diagnosis of scabies. Their advantages include rapid, noninvasive mass screening and post-therapeutic follow-up, with no physical risk. A greater knowledge of these techniques among general practitioners and other specialists involved in the intake care of overcrowded populations vulnerable to scabies infestations is now viewed as urgent and important in the management of outbreaks, as well as in consideration of the recent growing inflow of migrants in Europe from North Africa.

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