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Clinical diagnosis and treatment of scabies, a neglected tropical disease

Hendrick M. Motswaledi
South African Family Practice | Vol 63, No 1 : Part 3| a5224 | DOI: | © 2021 Hendrick M. Motswaledi | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 14 September 2020 | Published: 09 July 2021

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Hendrick M. Motswaledi, Department of Dermatology, Faculty of Health Sciences, Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University, Tshwane, South Africa

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Scabies is a parasitic infestation of the skin caused by the mite Sarcoptes scabiei var. hominis. It is common in tropical areas, including the sub-tropical areas of Southern Africa. Predisposing factors are overcrowding, poor personal hygiene, low socio-economic standards and impaired host immunity. Although it can occur at any age, scabies is commonly seen in children and young adults. It is not a fatal disease; however, it can cause severe morbidity and poor quality of life. Scabies can complicate with pyoderma which may result in post-streptococcal glomerulonephritis. There are two clinical variants, classic scabies and the much rarer crusted scabies (Norwegian scabies).


scabies, Sarcoptes scabiei; permethrin; ivermectin; non-fatal disease; pyoderma


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