Scabies is a parasitic disease caused by the human itch mite Sarcoptes scabiei, which burrows through the skin leading to an intensely itchy rash. The scabies mite, which is just smaller than can be visualized by the naked eye (to most), mates and lays eggs in the human skin which hatch and mature, thereby propagating its life cycle.
A diagnosis of scabies causes many patients anxiety and consternation. The Itch: Scabies details the essential clinic details of scabies - what it is, how to diagnose it, how to treat it, and examines common pitfalls in its recognition and cure. The methods of transmission of scabies and its level of contagiousness are also discussed in detail. Accounts of scabies date back to antiquity; this book reveals a history which is replete with medical and scientific missteps. The scabies mite was in fact the first infectious organism to ever be discovered, which represents a underrecognized landmark in the development of modern medicine. In spite of this, however, because it cannot be easily studied in the lab, our current knowledge of scabies is somewhat limited. Much of our current clinical understanding of scabies derives from a most unusual set of human experiments performed on conscientious objectors by Kenneth Mellanby in Britain during World War II.
Through its use of clinical vignettes and images, this book brings the fascinating story of scabies to light and will be of interest to medical practitioners, historians of medicine, and the general public alike.