What is Scabies
- A communicable disease of the skin caused by Sarcopte Scabiei and characterized by the eruptive lesions produced from the burrowing of the parasite into the skin.
- The mite is yellowish-white and can barely be seen by unaided eye.
- The female parasite burrows beneath the epidermis to lay her eggs and sets up an intense irritation.
- The males are smaller and reside at the surface of the skin.
- Scabies occurs worldwide, and is predisposed by overcrowding and poor hygiene.
- It occurs within 24 hours from the original contact, the length of time required from itch mite to (burrow) or infected skin lay ova.
Period of Communicability
- The disease is communicable for the entire period that the host is infected.
Signs and Symptoms
- When secondarily infected the skin may feel hot and burning but this is a minor discomfort.
- When large areas are involved and secondary infection is severe there will be fever, headache and malaise. Secondary dermatitis is common.
Mode of Transmission
- The disease is transmitted by direct transmission of infected individuals.
- The disease is also be transmitted through sleeping in an infected bed or wearing infected clothing.
- Anyone may become infected or re-infected.
- Infestation with mites may also result from contact with dogs, cats, and small animals.
- The female mite burrows into the skin to lay her eggs, from which larvae emerge to copulate and re-burrow under the skin.
- While any part of the body maybe infected, the itch mite maybe found in the interdigital spaces of the fingers or in warm folds in the skin.
- Areas of friction, such as the crotch, axillae, or the belt line, around the nipple in women and the periumbilical region are sites of predilection.
- The external genitalia are most frequently involved in adult males.
- The lesions are slightly elevated, straight or twitching burrows, thread like that are either brown or black in color, that are about 5 to 6 mm in length.
- Severe inflammation with the development of the papules, blisters, pustules, and crusts may come as a result of infection from scratching.
- In infants, burrows may appear on the head or neck.
- The disease may become fully developed into two weeks; the eggs hatch in about 6 days, and the parasite grows very rapidly. It may persist for month or even years if not recognized or properly treated.
- Appearance of lesion, and intense itching and finding of the causative mite.
- Scraping from its burrow with a hypodermic needle or curette, and then examined under low power of the microscope or by hard lens.
- The whole family should be examined before undertaking treatment, as long as a member of family remains infected, other members will get the disease
- Treatment for scabies consists of application of pediculicide, like permethrin cream of lindane lotion in thin layer over the entire skin surface and is left for ten to twelve (10-12) hours.
- Crotamiton cream applied for five consecutive nights.
- Neosporin ointment rubbed into the affected skin four to five times a day.
- Eurax and kwell lotion also prove effective to some patients.
- All clothes used before and during the treatment period should be disinfected by dry cleaning or boiling.
- Instruct patient to apply the cream at bedtime, from neck down to toes, covering the entire body.
- Advise patient to report any skin irritation.
- Suggest the family members and other close contact of the patient be checked for possible symptoms and be treated if necessary.
- If patient is hospitalized, practice good handwashing technique, or use gloves while performing nursing procedure.
- Terminal disinfection should be carried out after discharge of patient.
Prevention and Control
- Good personal hygiene daily bath; washing the hands before and after eating, and after using the toilet; cutting off fingernails.
- Regular changing of clean clothing beddings and towels.
- Eating the right kind of food like rich in Vitamin A and Vitamin C such as green leafy vegetable and plenty of fruits and fluids.
- Keeping the house clean.
- Improving the sanitation of the surroundings.