Scabies is a disease caused by the mite Sarcoptes scabiei that often times infests the human skin. It is often times very contagious and can often be cause secondary bacterial infections.
Clinically this disease manifests itself as one of four types, papular, bullous, nodular and crusted (the crusted kind is also known as Norwegian scabies). Each is caused by the mite and depends on the severity of the disease with papular being the most often seen and easily tread and the crusted being the rarest and hardest to treat. The disease can be quite severe especially in immunocompromised patients.
Once bitten by the mite the rash develops as the it burrows through the skin. Often times the mite makes a characteristiczig zag or s-shaped patter in the skin. The bodies allergic reaction to the scabies mite itself causes intense itching and redness around the site of attack. This mite has been known to quickly infect many members of the household. It often times is quickly transmitted to school mates, house mates etc. due to the close proximity of the infected individual with others. If the infected individual scratches and lodges the mite under the finger nails then the mite can now be transmitted easily to the next individual the victim touches.
Of the types of scabies the papular is the most common and least serious. Characteristic of this form of the disease are the tunnels of the scabies mite that are often time in the characteristic s-shape. The bullous form of the disease is characterized by the presence of many blister like bullae that are evidence of the mite infestation. Nodular scabies presents itself by the presence of nodules, this is most often seen in infants. The rarest form of the disease is the crusted form which is often called Norwegian Scabies.
Norwegian Scabies can be most often found in the immunocompromised patients (HIV positive the most prominent example). This form of the disease takes on the form of a crust on the skin and can prove to make the afflicted limb hard to move. It is treated much the same way as the other scabies forms by the use of creams that include such medications as Ivermectin.
Scabies is an important human disease, especially with the young and the elderly, but for most people in industrialized countries the disease is actually more of a veterinary problem than human. Scabies mites can also cause mange in dogs with the most contagious form of mange, Sarcoptic mange, actually cause by the mite that induces scabies in humans.
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