Scabies: the irksome itch

Scabies pandemics appear to be cyclical, historically coinciding with the world wars. Infestation is associated with poverty, poor hygiene, overcrowding and body-to-body contact — including sexual activity. Travel and migration also play significant roles in infestation spread.

These factors explain why the developing world, people in resource-poor and crowded settings (including institutions, boarding houses, nursing homes and prisons) experience a disproportional burden of infestation.

Scabies is caused by the mite Sarcoptes scabiei. The mites, once separated from the human host, will die within 36