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What is Scabies?|How is it Transmitted|Is Scabies Contagious?

What Is Scabies & How Is It Transmitted?

Scabies is an extremely contagious skin infection which is caused by what is called as the itch mite which in medical terms is named as Sarcoptes scabiei, also known as scabies mite. As soon as it enters the body it starts to make burrows underneath the skin surface where it grows and lays eggs. It usually takes about a week for the eggs to hatch. Once the eggs hatch it goes to the skin surface where it matures and becomes an adult.

The outbreak of scabies infection is mostly seen in places where a lot of people are living together like dormitories, hostels, hospitals, nursing homes, prison, and correction facilities. This rash thrives in warmer areas of the body like the buttock and breast creases, underneath the folds of the fingernails, and the armpits. The usual mode of transmission of Scabies is by direct contact, which may be by way of sexual intercourse or other means of direct contact by an infected individual.

Scabies can sometimes spread through indirect means also by way of using towels, combs, clothes, and other items of an infected individual.

What Is Scabies & How Is It Transmitted?

Is Scabies Contagious?

As mentioned above, Scabies is an extremely contagious infection, although it requires fairly long direct contact with the skin for the scabies mites to transmit from one individual to another. Citing examples, carrying an infected person, sexual contact with an infected individual, sleeping with an infected individual may all lead to transmission of the infection from the infected person to another individual. In some cases, sharing the bedding and clothing or other items may also result in the transmission of infection from one individual to another.

Normally, there are about 15 scabies mites in the body of an infected individual, but there is another form of scabies infection called Norwegian Scabies in which there are thousands of scabies mites inside the body of the infected individual. This is the most dangerous and contagious form of scabies infection. In case of an animal being infected with Scabies, then there are no cases of the infected animal passing the disease to humans.

Even those individuals who have just been infected with scabies and the mites are still in incubation period even they are considered to be contagious and can spread the infection to other individuals in case of a prolonged direct contact.

In conclusion, Scabies is an infection which is highly contagious and spreads from one individual to another with prolonged physical contact. In case of an animal or a pet being diagnosed with scabies then there is no danger of the infection being spread to humans from pets.

In cases of an individual being recently infected with scabies with the mites still in the incubation period even then the individual is said to be contagious and can transmit the infection to other individuals through direct contact.


  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) – Scabies: https://www.cdc.gov/parasites/scabies/index.html
  2. Mayo Clinic – Scabies: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/scabies/symptoms-causes/syc-20377378
  3. World Health Organization (WHO) – Scabies: https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/scabies

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Team PainAssist
Team PainAssist
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Team PainAssist, Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:July 17, 2023

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