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Health A-Z

Medical Content Created by the Faculty of the
Harvard Medical School

Expected Duration

With proper treatment, the rash and intense itching of scabies usually begin to subside within one to two days, although some milder itching can persist for a few weeks.

Without treatment, scabies can be a long-term infestation that can spread to other people. During the course of the illness, persistent scratching can lead to chronic crusting of the skin or to painful secondary skin infections caused by bacteria.

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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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