Scabies is a skin disease caused by the presence of the parasite Sarcoptes scabiei hominis (especially the female parasite). The parasite lays its eggs in the epidermis. To do this, the female will dig furrows that are sometimes visible.
Scabies is a highly contagious disease. In general, the face shows no damage, except in infants, immune-compromised patients (with profuse scabies) and seniors (with hyperkeratotic scabies).
Symptoms of scabies are characteristic and contextual (recent contact with an infected person or, person living in a residence ...). They include:
- most importantly, itching during the night;
- skin lesions: wrist, between fingers, buttocks, thighs, genitals, navel, nipple;
- specific skin lesions on the palms, wrists or fingers between the furrows;
- red itchy nodules on the genital organs, called nodular scabies.
In elderly and immune-compromised individuals, the disease may be spread throughout the body.
The diagnosis is made after a clinical examination. The furrows dug by the female parasite are fickle, but visible and characteristic of the disease. In profuse forms or in hyperkeratotic almost exclusively, the diagnosis can be confirmed by parasitological sampling. A sample of flakes is conducted, taken from grooves or vesicles, in order to perform a microscopic observation.
The treatment will be given to the patient and to his entourage. For an application to the face, one must remember to protect his eyes. Treatment may involve a single-dose oral treatment called ivermectin. Some topical treatments are also used: benzyl benzoate, pyrethroids, lindane. Antibiotics may also be added in case the lesions are infected. The treatment is accompanied by precautions to eliminate parasites: wash clothes, bed linens, chair covers (which have been in contact with the patient) ... at at least 60° C. Items that cannot be washed in a machine can be treated with a pesticide. Environment and health authorities should be notified, especially when the area that is infested is public (schools, residences ...). The isolation of the affected individual coupled with hygiene precautions are necessary.