Definition and description


What is Scabies?

Scabies is an infestation in the skin by a mite, which simply means that it is the spreading of a very small organism within the skin in a manner which is troubling and irritating. There are two kinds of Scabies, Sarcoptes Mange (which infests animals) and Sarcoptes Scabiei (which infests humans).

Scabies mites are microscopic, the females measuring 0.4 mm and the males measuring 0.2 mm in length, making them difficult to impossible to see with the unaided human eye. They are eight-legged parasites which belong to the same group as ticks.

Scabies has also been called the Seven-Year Itch or simply The Itch, because its symptoms include intense pruritus (itchiness). The itchiness is caused by the body’s allergic reaction to the burrowing of the mites in the upper layer of the skin and to the eggs and feces which they leave behind.

What do Scabies look like?

The mite

Scabies Photo

How is this information useful?

Even though Scabies may seem like an invincible enemy, owing to their ability to hide in plain sight because of their small size, they are definitely beatable. Medical science has given us the information we need in order to know the features and life cycle of Scabies, enabling us to overcome them.


Turkington, Carol, and Jeffrey S. Dover. The Encyclopedia of Skin and Skin Disorders. New York, NY: Facts on File, 2007.

Helm, Klaus F., and James G. Marks. Atlas of Differential Diagnosis in Dermatology. New York: Churchill Livingstone, 1998.

Frankel, David H. Field Guide to Clinical Dermatology. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 1999.


Photo by Kalument, Creative Commons License –


Next Link

Comments are closed