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Scabies can affect anyone irrespective of age, race or colour. The following groups of people are prone to get scabies:

  • Children
  • Mothers of young children
  • Young adults still sexually active
  • Residents of nursing homes  and extended-care facilities
  • Hospitalised patients
  • Weakened immunity
  • Patients living with HIV/AIDS, lymphoma and leukaemia
  • Patients with transplanted organs

Crusted scabies is very contagious. A crust filled with the human mites can fall off the patches. This fallen crust can provide food, as well as protection for the bugs, making them live for as long as one week outside the human skin.

Scabies can spread through infected people who manifest no symptoms. A person who has no previous experience of scabies would manifest symptoms after about 2 to 6 weeks.


Scabies is a common skin condition that is caused by the human itch mite. The human itch mite is an eight-legged bug that burrows into the uppermost skin layer to feed and dwell. It produces a widespread rash on the body that is accompanied by intense itching.

This chronic skin condition can be spread in the following ways:

  • Direct skin-to-skin contact.
  • Sexual intercourse.
  • Using infested objects such as a towel, bedding, or upholstered furniture.

Scabies cannot be gotten from mites infested animals because the type of scabies that affects humans is different.

Scabies is contracted through a brief hug or handshake.