Scabies is caused by a tortoise-shaped parasitic mite with four stubby legs called Sar – scabies

coptes scabiei. Unlike pubic lice, mites are too tiny to be seen by the naked eye. Scabies An sctoparasitic infestation of tiny

infestations are initiated by the female mite; after mating, she burrows beneath the skin mites-

to lay her eggs, which hatch shortly thereafter. Each hatched egg becomes a full-grown

adult in 10 to 20 days. The adult mite forages for nourishment in the host’s skin that is

adjacent to the site of the original burrow. The average person with scabies is infested

with 5 to 15 live adult female mites (Centers for Disease Control, 2009m).

Incidence and Transmission

Although scabies is not among the infectious conditions reported to health organizations in the United States and elsewhere, the worldwide prevalence of this infection is estimated at about 300 million annual cases (Chosidow, 2006). Scabies is a highly contagious condition that can be transmitted by close physical contact, both sexual and nonsexual. The mites can also be transferred on clothing or bedding, where they can remain viable for up to 72 hours (Centers for Disease Control, 2009m). In addition to sexually active people, schoolchildren, nursing home residents, and indigent people are especially at risk for scabies infestations.