A MAN with a scaly rash over his face, back and genitals was diagnosed with “highly contagious scabies”.
The 71-year-old went to A&E complaining his skin was extremely red and itchy.
www.nejm.org A man was diagnosed with ‘highly contagious scabies’ after going to the doctors about his itchy rash
Doctors took a scraping from his belly to analyse under the microscope and were shocked to find it was riddled with mites.
The patient, who also suffers with cirrhosis of the liver, was diagnosed with crusted scabies, according to a report in the New England Journal of Medicine.
It’s a severe and rare form of the contagious skin condition caused by tiny mites burrowing into the skin, where they feed and lay eggs.
After three to four days, the larvae hatch and move to the surface of the skin where they mature into adults.
Itchy and red
Scabies like warm place, such as skin folds, between fingers, under toenails, or around the buttock and breast creases.
They can also hide under watch straps, bracelets or rings.
The main symptom is intense itching that’s usually worse at night and a skin rash where the mites have burrowed.
The condition is usually spread through prolonged periods of skin-to-skin contact with an infected person, or through sexual contact.
Though rare, they can also be passed on through clothing, towels and bedding.
It can take up to eight weeks for symptoms to show after the initial infection, known as the incubation period.
The man, from Spain, had been to see a doctor three months earlier about red scaly skin on his scalp and hands, but skin scrapings tested at the time didn’t show mites.
So, he was sent away with a course of steroids.
The medication didn’t give some initial improvement but his condition later worsened.
When he returned months later, doctors discovered he had a red scaly rash with intense thickened skin on the face, neck, between his fingers and toes, and the genitals.
The patient was given a course of treatment and his symptoms cleared up within two weeks.
Crusted scabies is highly contagious due to the large number of mites found on the skin.
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It typically affects older people, particularly dementia patients, and those with a lower immunity.
But it can also develop in people without clear risk factors.
Medics warn that an undiagnosed case of crusted scabies could be the source of an outbreak in healthcare and residential facilities.
www.nejm.org The man’s genitals were severely infected with scabies
www.nejm.org A microscopic examination of a skin scraping from the abdomen shows the presence of mites
Former model ‘eaten alive by scabies while being looked after in care home’
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