Crusted Scabies

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Crusted scabies, also known as Norwegian scabies, is a highly contagious and severe form of scabies. It is characterized by thick crusts of skin that contain large numbers of mites. Crusted scabies is most often seen in people with weakened immune systems, such as those with HIV/AIDS or certain types of cancer. It can also occur in people who are unable to care for themselves properly, such as the elderly or disabled. Treatment for crusted scabies typically involves the use of oral or topical medications. In some cases, hospitalization may be necessary.


What are the causes of crusted scabies?

Crusted scabies is caused by an infestation of the skin by the Sarcoptes scabiei mite. This type of scabies is much more severe than the more common form of scabies and is often seen in people who are immunocompromised or have other health conditions that make them more susceptible to mite infestations. Crusted scabies is also sometimes called Norwegian scabies.

The mites that cause crusted scabies burrow into the skin and lay eggs, causing intense itching and irritation. The mites can live for several weeks on a person's skin and can spread easily to others through close contact. Crusted scabies is highly contagious and can be difficult to treat.


What are the symptoms of crusted scabies?

The symptoms of crusted scabies can vary from person to person. The most important symptom of crusted scabies is intense itching.  

Other symptoms include:

  • Oily, yellow crusts on the skin
  • Red bumps or blisters on the skin
  • Thickened, scaly skin
  • Sores on the skin
  • Crusting and scaling on the scalp
  • Facial swelling
  • Lymph node enlargement

If you have crusted scabies, you may also have a bacterial skin infection.

Symptoms of a bacterial skin infection include:

  • Pus-filled bumps on the skin
  • Red, swollen, and painful skin
  • Oozing and crusting of the skin
  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Body aches


What are the complications of crusted scabies?

The most serious complication of crusted scabies is a secondary bacterial infection, which can lead to impetigo, cellulitis, and even sepsis. People with crusted scabies are also at risk for other skin infections, such as pyoderma (bacterial infection of the skin) and dermatophytosis (fungal infection of the skin). Crusted scabies can also be very itchy and uncomfortable, and can lead to sleep loss and secondary psychological problems. Finally, crusted scabies is highly contagious and can spread easily to other people, especially those who are close contacts or have weakened immune systems. Early diagnosis and treatment are essential to preventing serious complications.


How is crusted scabies treated?

Crusted scabies is generally treated with a combination of topical and oral medications. Treatment typically starts with the application of an insecticide cream or lotion to the entire body. This is followed by oral administration of ivermectin (a medication that kills the mites). In some cases, additional treatments may be necessary, such as the use of steroids to reduce inflammation.

If you have crusted scabies, it is important to seek medical treatment as soon as possible. This condition can be very contagious and can spread quickly to others. Treatment will help to control the infestation and prevent it from spreading.


Can crusted scabies be prevented?

There is no sure way to prevent crusted scabies. Good hygiene, prompt and effective treatment of scabies, and avoidance of close contact with people who have crusted scabies can help reduce the risk of spreading or contracting the condition.



Crusted scabies is a severe form of scabies that can be difficult to treat. It is important to seek medical treatment as soon as possible to prevent the spread of this highly contagious condition. Good hygiene and prompt treatment of any scabies infestation can help reduce the risk of developing crusted scabies.


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