Pests of Medical Importance
Scabies is a contagious skin infestation by the mite Sarcoptes scabiei. "Scabies" comes from the Latin scabere, "to scratch." The mite burrows into the skin causing severe itching, and a rash. There are several subspecies of scabies mites, some of which infect other animals. The most common infection in humans is with Sarcoptes scabiei var. hominis. Reactions to scabies mites are caused when female mites burrow into the skin to deposit eggs. While the reactions can be intense, only 10-20 mites are generally involved in an infection to start.
While scabies is one of the top skin disorders in children, it does not discriminate and affects over 200 million people a year. Age and gender does not seem to impact infection, although it is most common in the developing world and tropical areas.
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