Scabies, caused by the mite S. scabiei that burrows in the skin of humans, is a contagious skin disease that affects millions of people worldwide. It is a significant public health burden in economically disadvantaged populations, and outbreaks are common in nursing homes, daycare facilities, schools and workplaces in developed countries. It causes significant morbidity, and in chronic cases, associated bacterial infections can lead to renal and cardiac diseases. Scabies is very difficult to diagnose by the usual skin scrape test, and a presumptive diagnosis is often made based on clinical signs such as rash and itch that can mimic other skin disease. A sensitive and specific blood test to detect scabies-specific antibodies would allow a physician to quickly make a correct diagnosis. Our manuscript reports the antibody isotype profiles of the sera of two groups of patients with ordinary scabies (17 from the US and 74 from Brazil) and concludes that such a blood test should be based on circulating IgM type antibodies that do not also recognize antigens of the related and ubiquitous house dust mites. Both are important considerations for research for developing a blood test for the diagnosis of scabies.
Arlian, L. G.,
& Morgan, M. S.
(2015). The Potential for a Blood Test for Scabies. PloS Neglected Tropical Diseases, 9 (10), e0004188.