Scabies is a contagious skin condition where the main symptom is intense itching. It is caused by tiny mites called Sarcoptes scabiei, which burrow into the skin.
Scabies can be spread through:
- skin-to-skin contact for long periods of time with someone who is infected
- sexual contact with someone who is infected
Scabies can also be passed on through sharing clothing, towels and bedding with someone who is infected. However, this is less likely than getting the infection through skin-to-skin contact.
The incubation period (the time it takes for symptoms to show after infection) for scabies is up to eight weeks.
For full details of Scabies click here to be taken to the NHS Choices website. If you are worried you may be at risk of having an STI or have any symptoms (as mentioned on the NHS Choices link to Scabies), you should visit your local sexual health or GUM clinic to have them checked out.
(Link checked as correct on 18/10/2013 by SA next update due 18/4/2014)