Archive for the ‘Health’ Category
Classical swine fever (CSF) is a highly contagious and economically significant viral disease of pigs. The severity of this disease varies with the strain of the virus, the age of the pig, and the immune status of the herd. Acute infections, which are caused by highly virulent isolates and have a high mortality rate, are likely to be diagnosed rapidly. However, infections with less virulent isolates can be more difficult to recognize, particularly in older pigs. These infections may be relatively mild, and can resemble septicemias caused by other agents, as well as other diseases. In some herds, the only symptom may be poor reproductive performance or the failure of some pigs to thrive. The wide range of clinical signs and similarity to other diseases can make classical swine fever challenging to diagnose. Although classical swine fever was once widespread, many countries have eradicated this disease from domesticated swine. Reintroduction of the virus can be devastating. In 1997-1998, an outbreak in the Netherlands spread to more than 400 herds and cost $2.3 billion to eradicate. Approximately 12 million pigs were killed, some in eradication efforts but most for welfare reasons associated with the epidemic. The United Kingdom experienced a CSF epizootic in 2000, and minor outbreaks were reported in Romania, Slovakia, Spain and Germany in 2001. North America is also at risk for the introduction of this disease, which is still endemic in much of South and Central America, including parts of Mexico. Because intensive swine production practices are used in the U.S., there may be extensive movements of pigs at different phases of production. This increases the potential for direct or indirect contact between pigs from different sources. Both factors increase the risk of virus spread. In addition, trade has become globalized, and international passenger travel and immigration have grown, increasing the risk of accidental introduction.
Classical swine fever (hog cholera) results from infection by classical swine fever virus (CSFV), a member of the genus Pestivirus and family Flaviviridae. Only one CSFV serotype has been found, but minor antigenic variability has been demonstrated between viral strains. This virus is closely related to the ruminant pestiviruses that cause bovine virus diarrhea and border disease. Other pestiviruses have also been described recently.
Classical swine fever affects domesticated and wild pigs. All feral and wild pigs, including European wild boar and collared peccaries, are thought to be susceptible.
Classical swine fever is found in much of Asia, some Caribbean islands, the African countries of Madagascar and Mauritius, and much of South and Central America. This disease has been eradicated from the United States, Canada, New Zealand, Australia and most of western and central Europe. CSFV is endemic in wild boar in parts of Europe; the significance for domesticated pigs is controversial.
Classical swine fever is highly contagious. Infected pigs are the only reservoir of virus. Blood, secretions and excretions (including oronasal and lacrimal secretions, urine, feces and semen) and tissues contain infectious virus. Virus shedding can begin before the onset of clinical signs, and occurs throughout the course of acute or subclinical disease. Chronically or persistently infected pigs can shed virus continuously or intermittently for months. Transmission between pigs occurs mainly by the oral or oronasal routes, via direct or indirect contact. CSFV is often spread by feeding uncooked contaminated garbage. Animals can also be infected through the mucous membranes, conjunctiva and skin abrasions. CSFV can be spread by genital transmission or artificial insemination. Infected carrier sows may give birth to persistently infected pigsThe virus can also be spread on fomites, and mechanical spread by insects, birds and other wild or domesticated animals may occur. Airborne transmission seems to be possible over short distances; however, the maximum distance the virus can spread is unclear. While aerosol transmission occurred only within a radius of 250 meters (820 feet) in one study, transmission could occur up to 1 km (0.62 miles) in another. CSFV is moderately fragile in the environment; this virus is reported to survive for three days at 50ºC (122 ºF) and 7 to 15 days at 37ºC (98.6ºF). Estimates of its survival in pens and on fomites under field conditions vary. Some studies suggest that virus inactivation occurs within a few days, while others describe survival, under winter conditions, for up to four weeks. CSFV can remain infectious for nearly three months in refrigerated meat and for more than four years in frozen meat. In this proteinaceous environment, this virus does not appear to be inactivated by smoking or salt curing. Reported virus survival times in cured and smoked meats vary with the technique, and range from 17 to more than 180 days.
The incubation period can range from 2 to 15 days, depending on the virulence of the strain, the route of inoculation and the dose. Under field conditions, disease may not become evident in a herd for 2 to 4 weeks or longer.
The signs of classical swine fever vary with the strain of virus, and the age and susceptibility of the pigs. More virulent strains cause acute disease; less virulent strains can result in a high percentage of chronic, mild or asymptomatic infections. Although highly virulent strains were once more prevalent, most epizootics are now caused by moderately virulent strains. Older animals are less likely to show severe symptoms than younger pigs. Some breed-specific differences have also been reported. Acute swine fever is the most severe form of the disease. In this form, common symptoms include a high fever [41o C (105o F)], huddling, weakness, drowsiness, anorexia, conjunctivitis, and constipation followed by diarrhea. Pigs may be in coordinated or exhibit an unsteady, weaving or staggering gait, which progresses to posterior paresis. Some pigs may vomit yellow, bile- containing fluid, or develop respiratory signs. The abdomen, inner thighs, ears and tail may develop a purple cyanotic discoloration. Hemorrhages can also occur in the skin. Severe leukopenia usually occurs soon after disease onset, and convulsions may be seen in the terminal stages. Pigs with acute classical swine fever often die within one to three weeks.
Classical swine fever should be suspected in pigs with signs of septicemia and a high fever, particularly if uncooked scraps have been fedor new animals have been added to the herd. This disease may also be considered in herds with other symptoms, including breeding herds with poor reproductive performance and disease in piglets. It can be difficult to differentiate classical swine fever from other diseases without laboratory testing. Differential diagnosis
The differential diagnosis varies with the form of the disease, and includes African swine fever, porcine dermatitis and nephropathy syndrome, porcine circovirus associated disease (especially porcine dermatitis nephritis syndrome), hemolytic disease of the newborn, porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome, thrombocytopenic purpura, anticoagulant (e.g. warfarin) poisoning, salt poisoning, Aujeszky’s disease (pseudorabies) and parvovirus infections. Septicemic diseases such as erysipelas, eperythrozoonosis, salmonellosis, pasteur-ellosis, actinobacillosis, and Haemophilus parasuis infections must also be considered. Congenital infection with the pestiviruses that cause bovine virus diarrhea or border disease can resemble classical swine fever.
Classical swine fever can be diagnosed by detecting the virus, its antigens or nucleic acids in whole blood or tissue samples. Viral antigens are detected by direct immunofluorescence (FAT or FATST test) or enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISAs). The virus can also be isolated in several cell lines including PK-15 cells; it is identified by direct immunofluorescence or by immunoperoxidase staining. Reverse transcriptasepolymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) tests are used in some laboratories. The ruminant pestiviruses that cause bovine virus diarrhea and border disease can occasionally infect pigs nSerum neutralization tests, or immunoperoxidase procedures that use monoclonal antibodies, can differentiate CSFV from these viruses. They can also be distinguished using genetic methods such as RT-PCR. Serology is used for diagnosis and surveillance Antibodies develop after 2 to 3 weeks, and persis lifelong. For this reason, serology is most useful in herds thought to have been infected 30 or more days previously It is particularly helpful in herds infected with less virulent strains, where viral antigens may be more
difficult to find. The most commonly used tests are virus neutralization tests, which include the fluoresce antibody virus neutralization (FAVN) test and the neutralizing peroxidase-linked assay (NPLA), and various ELISAs. Antibodies against ruminant pestiviruses may be found in breeding animals; only tests that use monoclonal antibodies can differentiate between these viruses and CSFV. The definitive test for differentiation is the comparative neutralization test. Congenitally infected pigs are immunotolerant and are negative on serology. Companion ELISAs have been developed for marke vaccines, but have limitations in their sensitivity and ospecificity.
A type 2 diabetes drug taken orally and in widespread use for more than a decade has been found to have distinct advantages over nine other, mostly newer medications used to control the chronic disease, according to a study by researchers at Johns Hopkins.
In their report, published online July 16 in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine, the Hopkins team found that metformin, first approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 1995 (and sold as Glucophage, Riomet and Fortamet), not only controlled blood sugar levels but also was less likely to cause weight gain and more likely than others to lower bad cholesterol levels in the blood.
Researchers say these health benefits are important because they can potentially ward off heart disease and other life-threatening consequence from diabetes. More than 15 million Americans have type 2 diabetes.
“Sometimes newer is not necessarily better,” says lead study author Shari Bolen, M.D., an internist at Hopkins. “Issues like blood sugar levels, weight gain and cost could be significant factors to many patients struggling to stay in good health,” says Bolen, an instructor at The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.
In what is believed to be the largest drug comparison of its kind, the scientists showed that all of the commonly used oral medications worked much the same at lowering and controlling blood sugar levels, and were equally safe. But metformin stood out because it offered the same level of effectiveness without lowering glucose measurements too much, and it did so for a lower price.
Metformin was found to lower LDL or bad cholesterol by about 10 milligrams per deciliter of blood, while newer medications studied, such as pioglitazone (Actos) and rosiglitazone (Avandia), or so-called thiazolidinediones, were found to have the opposite effect, increasing levels of the artery-clogging fat by the same amount.
Researchers say the main drawbacks to metformin are digestive problems and diarrhea. Previous reports have found evidence that the medication leads to the buildup of lactic acid in the blood in people with moderate kidney or heart disease, and they note that it should not be prescribed to anyone with either of these conditions. The main advantages to both newer thiazolidinediones were a small increase in HDL or good cholesterol, and less too-low blood sugar levels than three other older, cheaper drugs studied — glimepiride (Amaryl), glipizide (Glucotrol), glyburide (Micronase, DiabBeta, Glynase PresTab) — known as second-generation sulfonylureas.
Annual treatment with metformin or the sulfonylureas, they note, costs on average $100, roughly one-fourth the cost of oral diabetes medications FDA-approved since then, including the two newer thiazolidinediones, both approved in 1999. (Their price is expected to drop once generic versions become available.)
“When you are dealing with an epidemic like diabetes, it is important for people to weigh their treatment options with their physician and to make informed decisions about which medication best suits their needs,” says Bolen.
In the study, Bolen and her colleagues reviewed the scientific evidence from 216 previous studies and compared each drug for its clinical effectiveness, risks and costs. In addition to metformin, the thiazolidinediones and sulfonylureas, drugs included in their analysis were repaglinide (Prandin), miglitol (Glyset), acarbose (Precose), and nateglinide (Starlix).
Among the team’s other findings were that glimepiride, glipizide, and glyburide led more frequently to too-low blood sugar levels than the other drugs. The sulfonylureas and acarbose appeared to have no effect on bad cholesterol. And except for metformin and acarbose, drug treatment led to an increase in weight from 2 to 11 pounds.
Researchers also noted the increased risk of heart failure, albeit small (less than three people in a hundred), in people taking thiazolidinediones who did not have a history of heart disease. They also caution that despite recent reports about the potential for increased risk of heart attack from rosiglitazone, there is not yet sufficient information to verify the finding.
Researchers say further studies are needed to compare the long-term effectiveness of one treatment to another and to compare drug effects on quality of life and life expectancy. Additional research will also be needed to compare these findings with results for injectible medications for diabetes, most notably insulin, which was not included in the latest report.
The study, conducted solely at Hopkins, was supported with funding from the federal Agency for Health Care Research and Quality. The agency has posted the analysis, along with a question-and-answer document, on its Web site at http://www.effectivehealthcare.ahrq.gov/reports/final.cfm. And the consumer watchdog publication, Consumer Reports, has posted a related report at http://www.CBestBuyDrugs.org.
Besides Bolen, other researchers involved in the study were Leonard Feldman, M.D.; Jason Vassy, M.D., M.P.H.; Lisa Wilson, B.S., Sc.M.; Hsin-Chieh Yeh, Ph.D.; Spyridon Marinopoulos, M.D., M.B.A.; Crystal Wiley, M.D., M.P.H.; Elizabeth Selvin, Ph.D.; Renee Wilson, M.S.; Eric Bass, M.D., M.P.H.; and Frederick Brancati, M.D., M.H.S.
Even the most pessimistic of sports fans could not help but be inspired by Usain Bolt at Beijing 2008. The rangy Jamaican sprinter powered his way to an electrifying double in both the 100m and 200m events as well as smashing both world records. In setting his time of 9.69 seconds in the 100m Bolt even seemed to ease off and eat up the final yards at a canter. The ridiculous margin of victory for the sprinter only accentuated just how far ahead of the rest of the world Usain Bolt is. However, before this victory stunned the world in Beijing, sprinting was enduring one of its darkest periods in Olympic history. The list of discredited champions is disconcertingly lengthy in a sport which should represent some of the most finely-tuned specimens on the planet. The most notable of which is undoubtedly Dwayne Chambers. A man who was for years a beacon of light for British sprinting and a genuine contender for Olympic champion has now joined the long list of banned athletes after failing a drugs test. Chambers suffered more anguish than most on the way to his eventual decline but at least his rise to the top of sprinting was well-documented. Although, I am as electrified with Bolts meteoric rise and the next person, no one seems to know where it came from. Bolt has travelled from mediocrity to superstardom frighteningly quickly and the inherent doubter in me cannot help but ask how?
Performance-enhancing drugs have long cast a shadow over modern-day sport, particularly sprinting and have obliterated the career of many a promising athlete. The temptation to be at the pinnacle of a sport is often irresistible and steroids provide an illicit highway to achieving such a position. With this in mind, it is challenging to see Usain Bolt’s meteoric rise as a result of graft, natural talent and a physique simply made for sprinting. There is no doubting the attractiveness of such a route to the summit but it just does not seem to happen today. Disgraced champion Justin Gatlin is a case in point. The young American powered his way to the 100m Olympic title in 2004 and then again at the World Championships in 2005 and was viewed as the future of sprinting. As someone who’s hard work, commitment and raw speed had resulted in fairytale success. Two years after his triumph in Athens, Gatlin was banned from athletics for 4 years for doping and the watching world lost faith in sprinting once and for all. Usain Bolt’s victory however, has threatened to start a sprinting renaissance with people around the globe enthralled by the precocious, self-confident speedster. If this new king of the track is genuine then a renaissance is indeed imminent and Bolt represents a role model for all young athletes. On the other hand, suspicion persists in any sudden sporting success and the worry persists that Bolt will follow the painful example of many a sprinting star.
Olympic legend Carl Lewis was the first high profile questioner of Bolt’s dramatic victory. Lewis commented: “To run 10.03 seconds one year and win the Olympic final with 9.69 the next, if you don’t question that in a sport with the reputation it has right now, then you’re a fool.” Although the remark has been widely condemned, by no less than Jamaican sprinting star Asafa Powell, it will undoubtedly mimic the views of many a sports fan. It is not small-minded pessimism but justifiable doubt, especially in a sport which has seen athlete after athlete in recent years crumble into insignificance. Jamaica has consistently boasted a clean record in terms of doping and one would be hard pushed to remember a scandal involving steroids and a Jamaican athlete. However, admirable as this record is, it is also true that Jamaica does not have an independent, out-of-competition testing program for its athletes, nor has it joined the Caribbean Regional Anti-Doping Organization. This has been the cause of murmurs of discontent among athletic bodies. Not because anyone holds the steadfast belief that Usain Bolt or any Jamaican champions are guilty of drug cheating but simply because if you do not test then how do you know for certain that a victory was pure. Thus although the overwhelming likelihood is that Usain Bolt’s astonishing double was unadulterated, the web of doubters, fuelled by years of Olympic scandal and expulsion, will never truly be silenced unless Jamaica do more to test their athletes at every level.
Conversely, there is the view held by euphoric sports fans around the globe that Usain Bolt is a true people’s champion. Someone who has emerged from years of training and taken the sprinting world by storm with his inimitable style and charismatic manner. The “Lightning Bolt” knew what he wanted to achieve and pushed himself to the limit of his physical powers in order to achieve it. He is the man who everyone now wants to be, the first poster up on a bedroom wall – Bolt crossing the finish line with his arms aloft and the rest of the field disappearing into the Beijing smog. This is an image that is rightfully held and should still be held years down the line. A true champion, immune from drugs scandals and moanings of suspicion. Usain Bolt the architect of a sprinting renaissance and an inspiration for every corner of the globe. Here’s to hoping that such a view remains forever in sporting history and that doubts are cleared. However, until that final proof arrives, those who still reluctantly hold nagging doubts can be forgiven and it is up to the powers that be and the man himself to assure us of his clean brilliance.
Source : Online news
Although you may have heard or read a great deal about the environmental consequences of global warming, man will probably be affected through famine, or war long before the health of the population as a whole is harmed to a serious degree by the temperature change. However increasing extremes of temperature, as a result of climatic change, could result in increased mortality even in temperate climates.
Important issues concerning physical hazards include those relating to health effects of electromagnetic radiation and ionising radiation. If one excludes the occupational environment, then noise and other physical hazards may present a nuisance to many inhabitants, and impair general well being. Environmental noise does not usually contribute to deafness but notable exceptions may include noisy discotheques and “personal stereos”.
Electromagnetic radiation ranges from low frequency,relatively low energy, radiation such as radio and microwaves through to infra red, visible light, ultraviolet, X-rays and gamma rays. These last as well as other forms of radioactivity such as high energy subatomic particles (e.g. electrons – Beta rays) can cause intracellular ionization and are therefore called ionizing radiation. Exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation carries a increased risk of skin cancer such as melanoma, and of cataracts which are to an extent exposure related. Some pollutants such as chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) used as refrigerants or in aerosol propellants or in the manufacture of certain plastics can damage the “ozone layer” in the higher atmosphere (stratosphere) and thus allow more UV light to reach us, and harm us directly. Ultraviolet light may also cause harm indirectly by contributing to an increase in ozone in the troposphere (the air we breathe) – see below under chemical hazards, or elsewhere in connection with air quality.
Radioactivity is associated with an exposure dependent risk of some cancers notably leukaemia. Contrary to popular belief however, most radiation to which the average person is exposed is natural in origin, and, of the man made sources, medical diagnosis and treatment is on average the largest source to the individual. A very important issue is the extent to which radon gas arising from certain rock types beneath dwellings can contribute to cancer risk. According to some estimates it could result in a few thousand cancer deaths per year in the U.K. (but still probably less than one twentieth of the cancer deaths alone caused by tobacco smoking).
Ionization radiation from the nuclear industry and from fallout from detonations contributes less than 1% of the annual average dose to inhabitants of the U.K. The explanation for leukemia clusters around nuclear power plants is not yet resolved. Similar clustering can occur in other parts of the country. The effect of viral infections associated with population shifts may be important but requires further study.
Non ionising electrical, magnetic or electromagnetic fields are an increasing focus of attention. The scientific evidence of adverse health effects from general environmental exposure to these fields is “not proven”. If there are adverse effects yet to be proven, the risk is probably likely to be very small.
Source : http://www.agius.com
Asthma is a chronic disease of the respiratory system and may turn even fatal at times. It is therefore important for the asthma patients to take proper care and precautions regularly. Asthma patients suffer from attacks that enforce the system to breathe with difficulty. Wheezing, choking, gasping for breath and suffocation are the symptoms of asthmatic attack.
The attacks may last up to several minutes and leave a person thoroughly exhausted. There can be severe organ damage due to problem in respiration during the asthma attack. Also the system may suffer from lack of oxygen for a longer duration of time. It is therefore imperative to exercise proper caution and avoid the onset of an attack to the extent possible.
Some easily followed precautions everyday may keep an asthmatic without suffering an attack. These precautions are:
1. An asthmatic needs to follow routines. This is because it is generally seen that people do not suffer the agony of an asthmatic attack if they continue to live their life in a regular way. The problem arises mainly when the people go out of their way and break all the routines. The system thus gets unnecessarily pressured and reacts badly by manifesting the symptoms of the disease in the oddest of ways and without many warning signs. Sometimes the body does give the warning signs but the person may ignore them completely.
2. Daily morning walk does wonders to the system. But in the case of asthma patients the benefit from early morning exercise is enhanced manifold. This is because the early morning is the time when the air is pure and at its best. Exercising the lungs with the early morning air does wonders to the asthmatic lungs and respiratory tract.
3. Daily morning exercise schedule needs to be followed religiously in case of an asthma patient. Not only does this help in exercising the whole system but it also makes a person live a more disciplined and regularised life. This is because if a person gets into the habit of getting up early, in all probability he would try and sleep early too and his routine will automatically be set and fixed.
4. The daily diet of an asthma patient should be kept simple and nutritious. He should take care of not eating heavy meals as they would tax the system unnecessarily. Care should be taken to keep the meals small and frequent if need be, rather than consuming standard heavy meals at set hours. Also the food should be cooked with less oil and spices to keep it easily digestible. The diet should be mainly vegetarian with less of fats and carbohydrates. Sweets should best be avoided at night time. Dinner should be consumed at least two hours before sleeping so that the stomach is almost empty before sleeping. Dietary intake of fruits and vegetables should be enhanced. Snacks should be mainly in the form of fresh fruits and vegetables only and fatty, oily and salty or sweet snacks should be avoided completely.
5. Asthma patients should avoid smoking completely. Smoking fills the system with many toxins and the respiratory system gets flooded with them. These toxins are major irritants to the respiratory tract and create an undue pressure on the system that may be too much for an asthmatic to handle. An asthmatic may get more bronchial spasms and is more likely to be affected with respiratory infections if he continues to smoke.
6. An asthmatic person should also not indulge in drinking too much. This is because drinking causes a person to lose sense and become more prone to breaking disciplines of routine and diets. An asthmatic may become careless with his diet and may tend to overeat to counteract the influence of alcohol if he indulges in drinking too much.
7. Asthma patient’s surroundings should be kept neat and tidy. As far as possible clutter should be completely avoided to steer clear of dust induced allergies that may create an attack. Clutter in the surroundings inhabits several mites and allergy causing organisms. It is therefore necessary that the furniture and other stuff should be arranged in such a way, which allows proper dusting and cleaning on a daily basis.
8. Asthma patients may have difficulty with the atmospheric pollution also. It is very important to assess whether the patient may be allergic to any particular kind of allergen present in the atmosphere around his place of dwelling or occupation. Sometimes certain professions support the excessive usage of one kind of toxin or the other, in which case a change in profession or occupational conditions may remain to be the only option.
9. Asthmatics should also be very careful of not getting mentally excited too much. This is because the mental aggravation may lead to appearance of asthmatic symptoms in patients. On a daily basis it is better not to accumulate taking decisions, whether in the personal life or in the professional life. The work should also be handled as far as possible on a daily basis to avoid excess stress and anxiety.
10. In order to manage asthma it is very necessary to accept the disease and the limitations attached with it in one’s daily life. If proper discipline is maintained a patient can have a long and problem free life.
Source : http://www.articlesbase.com
Hives (urticaria), also known as welts, is a common skin condition with itchy, pink to red bumps that appear and disappear anywhere on the body. An individual lesion of hives typically lasts a few hours before fading away, and new hives can appear as older areas disappear.
Physicians arbitrarily divide hives into acute (new or periodic episodes lasting fewer than 6 weeks) and chronic (periodic episodes lasting more than 6 weeks). Though many people have a single episode of acute hives that goes away within a few days to weeks, some individuals may have chronic hives, periodic (recurrent) attacks of hives that come over periods of years.
Hives can be triggered by many things, including:
* Medications, especially aspirin, ibuprofen, naproxen, narcotic painkillers, or antibiotics
* Infections with viruses, bacteria, or fungi
* Environmental allergies such as insect bites, pollen, mold, or animal dander
* Physical exposures such as heat, cold, water, sunlight, or pressure
* A medical condition such as gland diseases, blood diseases, or cancer
* Food allergies, such as strawberries, eggs, nuts, or shellfish
In up to 90% of outbreaks of hives, a trigger is never found despite extensive testing; these cases are referred to as idiopathic urticaria. In approximately 50% of idiopathic urticaria outbreaks, hives are most likely caused by a reaction from the person’s own immune system (autoimmune reaction).
Following are some facts on Scabies. This contagious skin disease can be a nightmare for you if you don’t take precautions. This piece of post is to lighten up the world to be healthy.
- Scabies [SKAY-bees] is a skin disease caused by a parasitic mite.
- Scabies is spread by prolonged person-to-person contact and is very contagious.
- Anyone can get scabies.
- Scabies is treatable with mite-killing skin lotions and creams.
- To prevent scabies: 1) avoid contact with people with scabies, and 2) make sure that affected persons and their contacts are treated.
What is scabies?
Scabies is a contagious mite infection of the skin.
What is the infectious agent that causes scabies?
Scabies is caused by Sarcoptes scabiei, a parasite mite.
Where is scabies found?
Scabies occurs worldwide. Scabies mites live on human blood and need the warmth of the human body to survive. Away from the body, they die within 48 hours.
How do people get scabies?
Scabies is spread from person to person mainly by prolonged (several minutes) direct skin-to-skin contact, such as touching a person who has scabies. In rare cases, scabies can spread by contact with clothes, towels, bedding, and other personal items that were recently in contact with an infected person.
Burrowing of the mites causes the infection. Scabies mites tunnel under the skin, lay eggs, and produce substances that cause an allergic reaction. The path of a mite’s burrow looks like a line of tiny blisters on the skin. Larvae hatch from the eggs and live under the skin’s surface, where they develop into adult mites.
What are the signs and symptoms of scabies?
The earliest and most common symptom is intense itching, especially at night. An early scabies rash will show up on the skin as a line of tiny blisters or little red bumps. In more serious cases, the skin might be crusty or scaly.
In adults, signs of scabies will usually appear first in body folds — particularly between the fingers, on the elbows or wrists, on the buttocks or waistline, around the nipples for women, and on the penis for men. Scabies rarely affects the skin above the neck.
In infants and children, scabies can affect the entire body, including the palms, soles of the feet, and head and scalp. The child may be tired and cranky because of loss of sleep from itching.
How soon after exposure do symptoms appear?
It can take up to 2 to 6 weeks before a newly infected person will notice any itching or rash. Persons who have already had scabies and are re-exposed might show symptoms in 1 to 4 days.
How is scabies diagnosed?
Scabies is diagnosed by the characteristic rash. The diagnosis can be confirmed by finding mites or eggs in skin scrapings.
Who is at risk for scabies?
Anyone can get scabies. It can strike people of any age, race, or sex, regardless of personal cleanliness. Scabies is not a disease of poverty, neglect, or poor hygiene. However, it is more common among people living in crowded conditions and among those with close physical contact with others, such as children, mothers of infants, and persons in nursing homes.
What complications can result from scabies?
Scratching can cause infected sores. Some people become very sensitive to the mites and develop large areas of inflamed skin.
What is the treatment for scabies?
Treating scabies means killing the mites and their eggs. Prescription skin creams or lotions containing 5% permethrin, lindane, or crotamiton will kill the mites and eggs. Lotions must be applied according to the package directions. It can take 1 to 2 weeks after treatment for the itching to stop. A second treatment in 7 days is often recommended.
If you suspect scabies:
- See a dermatologist (skin doctor) right away for diagnosis. Remember, scabies does not indicate anything about your personal cleanliness.
- Wash and dry clothing, bed linens, and towels on the hot cycle, or have personal items professionally dry cleaned. Clothing that cannot be laundered or dry cleaned should be stored in plastic bags for several days to kill the mites.
- Vacuum rugs and furniture, and discard the vacuum bag.
- Treat all household members, personal contacts, and sexual contacts at the same time, whether or not they have symptoms.
- Do not treat scabies with home remedies. These can make the condition worse. Do not use steroids or other creams unless prescribed by a doctor.
How common is scabies?
Scabies is a fairly common infectious disease that occurs sporadically and also sometimes in outbreaks. Most outbreaks occur in nursing homes, institutions, and child-care centers.
Is scabies an emerging infectious disease?
Yes. There has been a recent wave of infestation in the United States. Scabies in residents of nursing homes and extended care facilities has become a common problem.
How can scabies be prevented?
- Avoid physical contact with infected persons and their belongings, especially clothing and bedding.
- Treat all family and household members who had skin contact with an infected person, whether or not they are itching or have a rash.
- Exclude persons with scabies from school or day care until 24 hours after treatment.
This fact sheet is for information only and is not meant to be used for self-diagnosis or as a substitute for consultation with a health-care provider. If you have any questions about the disease described above or think that you might have a parasitic infection, consult a health-care provider.
Source : http://www.dhpe.org/infect