"It is important to note that scabies is a highly contagious disease and can easily spread from person to person or between animals."


What is scabies?

Scabies is a skin disease caused by the Sarcoptes scabiei mite.

These mites develop tunnels in the skin where they lay eggs, causing intense itching and rashes.

Scabies is spread mainly through direct contact with infected people or through contact with contaminated objects, such as clothing and bedding.

To prevent the spread of scabies, it is important to maintain good hygiene and avoid close contact with infected persons. Treatment includes control measures and medication prescribed by a specialist.

What are the symptoms of scabies?

Scabies is characterized mainly by intense itching of the skin, which may worsen at night. This itching is caused by the body's allergic reaction to the mites and their droppings.

In addition to itching, rashes may occur on different areas of the body. The rashes are usually small red bumps and may form lines or furrows on the skin, especially between the fingers, on the wrists, elbows, armpits and genitals.

Constant and vigorous scratching of the affected skin can lead to the formation of ulcers, scabs and wounds. These lesions may be prone to secondary bacterial infections, which may further complicate the clinical picture.

The most frequent symptoms of scabies:

  • Intense itching of the skin.
  • Skin rashes: small red bumps.
  • Formation of furrows on the skin, especially between the fingers, wrists, elbows, armpits and genitals.
  • Presence of ulcers, scabs and wounds due to constant scratching.

It is important to note that the symptoms of scabies may vary from person to person, and their intensity may depend on the individual's immune system and the severity of the infestation.

In some cases, mild symptoms or even no visible signs may be present, making diagnosis and early recognition of the disease difficult.

Do you have any of these symptoms?

You may have scabies

What causes scabies?

Scabies is a skin infection caused by the Sarcoptes scabiei mite, an obligate parasite that can only survive on the host for 2 to 4 days.

Sarcoptes scabiei mite life cycle

The life cycle of the Sarcoptes scabiei mite begins with fertilization on the skin surface. After copulation, the male dies and the female burrows into the stratum corneum of the skin, where she develops tunnels and deposits 2 to 3 eggs per day.

After 4 to 6 weeks, the female dies in the tunnel and the eggs hatch, with the larvae emerging on the skin surface. These larvae develop into nymphs in 3 to 8 days and then into adults in 12 to 15 days.

The contagious forms of the mite are the nymphs and adults, which can infect other individuals through direct contact.

Risk factors for scabies

There are several risk factors that can increase the chances of contracting scabies. These include:

  • Living with or having close contact with infected people or animals.
  • Having had a previous episode of scabies, as the disease can recur.
  • Living in areas where scabies is common and hygiene conditions are poor.
  • Sharing rooms or close quarters with an infected person, such as in shelters or dormitories.

In addition, certain groups of people are at increased risk for scabies, such as children, the elderly and those with weakened immune systems.

A higher incidence of scabies has also been observed in settings such as prisons, hospitals and care homes.

How is scabies diagnosed?

It is necessary to determine in each patient who presents sarcoidosis the sites and severity of granulomatous involvement in the various organs and systems that can compromise life.

Although clinical presentation may lead to a suspicious diagnosis of sarcoidosis, it is necessary to confirm it by biopsy, knowing that the presence of noncasing granulomas is not exclusive to this disease.

No specific laboratory or radiological test is currently available.

In order to make a definitive diagnosis of sarcoidosis, it is necessary to rule out other diseases that may appear similar but require different treatments.

How is scabies treated?

Measures to control and prevent the spread of scabies

Treating scabies involves not only addressing the symptoms and eliminating the mites, but also taking steps to prevent their spread to others. Here are some control and prevention measures:

  • Washing and drying clothing and bedding at high temperatures: To kill the mites and their eggs, it is important to wash and dry clothing and bedding at high temperatures. It is recommended to follow proper washing instructions and use high temperature cycles.
  • Household cleaning and vacuuming: Thorough cleaning of the home is essential, especially in areas where mites may be present. Proper vacuuming of couches, carpets, mattresses and other areas likely to harbor these parasites helps to reduce their spread.
  • Do not share personal items: It is important to avoid sharing clothing, towels, bedding or other personal items with infected persons to prevent the spread of scabies.
  • Keep nails short and clean: Long nails can facilitate the entry of mites and worsen skin lesions. Keeping nails short and clean helps prevent further irritation and the spread of scabies by scratching.
  • Maintaining good hygiene: It is important to maintain proper personal cleanliness by regularly washing hands and body with soap and water. Special attention should be paid to areas prone to infection, such as the interdigital areas, armpits and genitals.
  • Avoid close contact with infected persons: If you are aware that a person is infected with scabies, it is essential to avoid close contact with that person. It is important to keep a safe distance and to take hygienic measures to prevent transmission.

Drug treatment for scabies

Medical treatment of scabies is usually based on the use of medications and treatments prescribed by a specialist.

It is important to follow a physician's instructions to ensure the effectiveness and safety of the treatment.

Some of the common therapeutic approaches include:

Topical medications: topical medications, such as permethrin or benzyl benzoate cream, are applied directly to the affected skin to kill the mites. The dosage and frequency prescribed by the physician should be followed.

Oral medications: In more severe or resistant cases, the physician may prescribe oral medications, such as ivermectin, which act on the body's overall system to kill the mites that cause scabies.

Treatment to relieve symptoms: In addition to specific medications, medications may be prescribed to relieve the symptoms associated with scabies, such as antihistamines to reduce itching and moisturizers to soothe irritated skin.

It is important to follow all of your doctor's instructions and complete the prescribed treatment, even if symptoms improve before the treatment is completed. This will ensure effective eradication of the mites and reduce the risk of reinfestation.

Where do we treat it?


The Department of Dermatology
of the Clínica Universidad de Navarra

The Department of Dermatology of the Clinica Universidad de Navarra has extensive experience in the diagnosis and treatment of dermatological diseases.

We have extensive experience in highly precise surgical treatments, such as Mohs surgery. This procedure requires highly specialized personnel. 

We have the latest technology for the dermo-aesthetic treatment of skin lesions, with the aim of achieving the best results for our patients.

Imagen de la fachada de consultas de la sede en Pamplona de la Clínica Universidad de Navarra

Why at the Clinica?

  • Experts in Mohs Surgery for the treatment of skin cancer.
  • We have the best technology for dermo-aesthetic treatments.
  • Safety and quality assurance of the best private hospital in Spain.

Frequently asked questions about scabies

The duration of treatment for scabies may vary depending on the severity of the infestation and individual response to treatment.

It usually takes several weeks of appropriate use of medications prescribed by a physician to completely eliminate the mites and alleviate symptoms.

The Sarcoptes scabiei mite has different strains depending on the animal species in which it is found.

These specific strains of Sarcoptes scabiei can infect dogs, cattle, pigs, horses, alpacas, rabbits, sheep and goats. Each variant is adapted to its specific host, causing symptoms similar to those seen in human scabies.

In humans, human scabies is caused by Sarcoptes scabiei var. hominis. This variant is transmitted mainly through direct contact with an infected person.

In animals, on the other hand, scabies is spread between species through contact with infected animals or by sharing contaminated objects such as cages or utensils. Although symptoms may vary slightly between species, intense itching and skin lesions are common in all cases.

It is important to note that scabies in humans is diagnosed and treated similarly to animal variants, although medications and treatments may vary slightly in dosage and formulation.

In addition, early treatment and prevention of spread are critical in both humans and animals to avoid complications and recurrent outbreaks.

Yes, it is possible to effectively prevent scabies through proper hygiene measures.

It is recommended to keep fingernails short and clean, avoid close contact with infected persons and do not share personal items.

In addition, wash and dry clothes and bedding at high temperature, vacuum and thoroughly clean the home, and follow the treatment instructions prescribed by a physician.

  • Laundering of clothing and textiles: Everything that came in contact with the infected person should be laundered. This includes clothes, sheets, towels, blankets and any other fabrics. Use hot water at 60ºC and a strong detergent. If you have a dryer, use it on the hottest cycle. Scabies mites cannot survive outside the human body for more than 48-72 hours, so any items that cannot be washed immediately can be sealed in a plastic bag for at least 72 hours.
  • Cleaning non-washable surfaces: For furniture, mattresses and other items that cannot be washed, it is helpful to vacuum thoroughly. Discard the vacuum bag or empty the container outside immediately after cleaning.
  • Use of disinfectants: Although scabies mites do not survive long outside the human body, you can use disinfectants on surfaces to ensure cleanliness. However, make sure they are suitable for the surface in question and follow label instructions.
  • Personal items: Combs, brushes and other personal items should be disinfected. You can do this by soaking them in hot water or alcohol.
  • Common areas: Don't forget high-touch areas, such as door handles, light switches, keyboards, remote controls, among others. Clean them with disinfectant wipes or an appropriate cleaning solution.
  • Ventilation: Be sure to ventilate rooms well. Scabies mites do not tolerate cool, dry environments, so proper ventilation can help eliminate them.