Scabies

Figure 21-1. Scabies. (Hoechst-Roussel Pharmaceuticals)

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Figure 21-1. Scabies. (Hoechst-Roussel Pharmaceuticals)

Figure 21-2. The female of the mite Sarcoptes scabiei. The small, oval, black body near the anal opening is a fecal pellet. Proximal to it is a vague, much larger, oval, pale-edged mass—an egg. (Dr. H. Parlette)

Scabies is usually more prevalent in a populace ravaged by war, famine, or disease, when personal hygiene becomes relatively unimportant. However, there are unexplained cyclic epidemics of this parasitic infestation. In the 1970s and 1980s such a cycle plagued Americans. In normal times scabies is rarely seen except in schoolchildren, among the elderly in nursing care centers, or in poorer populations under crowded conditions. It can be a sexually transmitted disease.

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