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Crusted Scabies

​What is Crusted (Norwegian) scabies?

Scabies is a skin condition caused by tiny parasites (mites) that get under the skin. "Crusted scabies" is a severe type of scabies.

Who gets crusted scabies?

Anyone can get scabies, but "crusted scabies" is more common in seniors, people with weak immune systems, or persons who are not able to itch or scratch because of another problem like paralysis. People with crusted scabies are very contagious and can easily pass scabies to other people.

What are the symptoms of crusted scabies?

Usually scabies causes severe itching, but not everyone with scabies gets itching. Some people will have a skin rash.

How is scabies spread?

Scabies is spread by direct touching (skin to skin) with someone who has scabies. You may also get scabies if you come into contact with contaminated things like clothes or bedding from infected people. 

How soon do symptoms appear?

Symptoms can take up to 2 months to appear after exposure. A person who had scabies before may show symptoms sooner.

How long is someone with scabies contagious?

People with scabies can spread it until they are treated. But off a person, the parasites usually do not survive more than 72 hours. 

What is the treatment for crusted scabies?

Persons with scabies need a medicine prescribed by a healthcare provider. Both lotions and pills can be used. At least two doses of medicine given a week apart are needed. People who have been exposed to persons with scabies may also need to be treated. After one day of treatment, people can return to work and/or school.

What can be done to prevent scabies?

Whenever possible, you should avoid directly touching a skin rash. If you are taking care of someone with scabies, use protection like gowns, disposable gloves, and shoe covers. Wash your hands thoroughly after any contact, even if you are wearing protective clothing. Thoroughly clean and vacuum the room of people with crusted scabies regularly to remove skin crusts and scales that can contain mites. Bedding and clothes used by a person with scabies should be put in a plastic bag and emptied directly into a washer to avoid spreading infection. This includes any clothes or bedding used in the three days before a person with scabies was treated. Machine wash and dry all items using the hot water and high heat cycles (at least 122°F for 10 minutes). Items that cannot be washed, such as mattresses, should be sealed in a plastic bag and not touched for at least 72 hours. Protective clothes and gloves should be used when touching any contaminated items.  These precautions should be continued until the person with crusted scabies has been treated twice (a week apart).

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