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Scabies

Introduction
The mite Sarcoptes scabiei is the source of the highly contagious parasitic infestation known as scabies. It is a huge global public health concern that affects people of all ages, especially in underdeveloped nations.

Epidemiology
Scabies is estimated to affect over 200 million people worldwide, with a higher prevalence in tropical and subtropical regions. It is more common in areas with poor sanitation, overcrowding, and poor hygiene.

Causative Agent
The causative agent of scabies is the mite Sarcoptes scabiei, which is a tiny, eight-legged parasite that burrows into the skin.

Incubation Period
The incubation period of scabies is typically 2-4 weeks, but can range from 1-6 weeks.

Reservoir
Humans are the primary reservoir of scabies.

Reservoir Infection
Reservoir infection refers to the presence of scabies mites on an infected person’s skin, which can be transmitted to others through direct contact.

Mode of Transmission
Scabies is transmitted through:

  • Direct skin-to-skin contact with an infected person
  • Sharing of clothing, bedding, or towels
  • Close contact with an infected person, such as hugging or shaking hands

Period of Communicability
A person with scabies is contagious until they receive effective treatment and all mites are killed.

Susceptibility and Resistance
Anyone can get scabies, but certain groups are more susceptible, including:

  • Children
  • Elderly people
  • People with weakened immune systems
  • People living in close quarters, such as in institutions or refugee camps

Standard Case Definition

  • Typical symptoms, such as intense itching and a characteristic rash
  • Presence of scabies mites or eggs on the skin

Susceptibility Case
A susceptibility case is defined as a person who has been in close contact with a confirmed case of scabies.

Confirmed Case
A confirmed case is defined as a person with a positive diagnosis of scabies, confirmed by the presence of scabies mites or eggs on the skin.

Clinical Manifestation

  • Intense itching, especially at night
  • Characteristic rash, typically on the hands, wrists, elbows, and genital area
  • Small, raised bumps or blisters on the skin

Control, Prevention, and Treatment

  • Early detection and treatment of cases
  • Contact tracing and treatment of contacts
  • Improved hygiene and sanitation
  • Use of insecticides and scabicides

Treatment typically involves topical creams or oral medications that kill the scabies mites.

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