Human scabies is a debilitating skin disease caused by the “itch mite” Sarcoptes scabiei. Ordinary scabies is commonly treated with topical creams such as permethrin, while crusted scabies is treated with topical creams in combination with oral ivermectin. Recent reports of acaricide tolerance in scabies endemic communities in Northern Australia have prompted efforts to better understand resistance mechanisms and to identify potential new acaricides. In this study, we screened three essential oils and four pure compounds based on eugenol for acaricidal properties.
Methodology/Principal FindingsContact bioassays were performed using live permethrin-sensitive S. scabiei var suis mites harvested from pigs and permethrin-resistant S. scabiei var canis mites harvested from rabbits. Results of bioassays showed that clove oil was highly toxic against scabies mites. Nutmeg oil had moderate toxicity and ylang ylang oil was the least toxic. Eugenol, a major component of clove oil and its analogues –acetyleugenol and isoeugenol, demonstrated levels of toxicity comparable to benzyl benzoate, the positive control acaricide, killing mites within an hour of contact.
ConclusionsThe acaricidal properties demonstrated by eugenol and its analogues show promise as leads for future development of alternative topical acaricides to treat scabies.
Arlian, L. G.,
& McCarthy, J.
(2010). Acaricidal Activity of Eugenol Based Compounds against Scabies Mites. PLoS One, 5 (8), e12079.