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What Is Scabies


Scabies is caused by a mite (like a tiny insect) called Sarcoptes scabiei. The mite is a parasite, meaning it lives off the host (a human) with no benefit to the host.


Scabies mites are tiny. They have a creamcoloured body, bristles and spines on their back, and four pairs of legs. The female mite is bigger (about 0.4 mm x 0.3 mm) compared with the male (0.2 mm x 0.15 mm).


Most of the symptoms of scabies infestation are due to the immune system response to the mites themselves, their saliva, their eggs or their faeces.


The average number of mites on an infested person is 12. Neglected children with scabies in underprivileged communities may have 100s of mites.


多How Is Scabies Transmitted?


Scabies is most commonly transmitted through close body contact for an extended period. Holding hands for a while or sexual intercourse are typical examples.


Transmission of scabies by hugging or shaking hands is less likely as it is usually too brief.


Scabies mites cannot fly or jump. They can, however, survive a couple of days after leaving the human body, meaning that people sharing clothes or a bed with someone infected are at risk. Transmission by these means is much less common than prolonged physical contact.


Environments that are enclosed, such as nursing homes or schools, pose a greater risk of scabies transmission due to their populations being in close proximity to each other.


It is important that the medical staff in these environments possess the training needed to identify scabies symptoms to avoid the infestation spreading.


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