Health A-Z

Medical Content Created by the Faculty of the Harvard Medical School



Scabies is a very contagious illness that can spread to members of your family and other people who have close physical contact with you. For this reason you should never self-diagnose this illness. You must be examined by a professional.

After reviewing your symptoms and your risk factors (sexual contact, crowded living conditions, high-risk work environment), your doctor will examine your skin. Most often, the diagnosis is made based on skin findings and known exposure or possible exposure to scabies. The doctor looks for bumps between the fingers and toes and for burrows. The doctor also may scrape an area of rash gently to look for the mites or their eggs.

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From Health A-Z, Harvard Health Publications. Copyright 2007 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College. All rights reserved. Written permission is required to reproduce, in any manner, in whole or in part, the material contained herein. To make a reprint request, contact Harvard Health Publications. Used with permission of StayWell.

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