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Healthgrades Editorial Staff

What is scabies?

Scabies is a contagious, itchy skin disease caused by an infestation of Sarcoptes scabiei, a microscopic mite that burrows under the skin. Scabies is characterized by intense itching caused by a skin reaction to the mites. Itching most often occurs at night and may be accompanied by pimple-like irritations or rashes, and sores caused by scratching.

Scabies is a common disease that can affect any gender, race, age group, or social background. More than 300 million scabies cases occur globally every year, according to the American Osteopathic College of Dermatology (Source: AOCD).