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Diseases » Scabies » Contagiousness

Is Scabies Contagious?

Transmission of Scabies from Person to Person

Scabies is considered to be contagious between people. Generally the infectious agent may be transmitted by saliva, air, cough, fecal-oral route, surfaces, blood, needles, blood transfusions, sexual contact, mother to fetus, etc.
Scabies, although infectious, is not a genetic disease. It is not caused by a defective or abnormal gene.
The contagious disease, Scabies, can be transmitted:

  • by sexual conduct between people.
  • from person to person by saliva, air, coughing, contact, surfaces, fecal-oral route, etc.

Contagion summary:

Mostly by sexual contact, but also skin contact, clothing, bedding, towels, or furniture.

Contagiousness properties for Scabies:

  Contagious overall?: Yes

  Contagious by sex?: Yes

  Contagious by oral sex?: Yes

  Contagious by anal sex?: Yes

  Contagious by vaginal sex?: Yes

  Contagious even with safe sex?: Yes

  Contagious by physical contact (non-sexual)?: Yes

  Contagious from bedding?: Yes

  Contagious from clothing?: Yes

  Contagious from towels?: Yes

  Contagious from surfaces (or objects)?: Yes

Contagion summary:

By direct, prolonged, skin-to-skin contact with a person already infested with scabies. Contact must be prolonged (a quick handshake or hug will usually not spread infestation). Infestation is easily spread to sexual partners and household members. Infestation may also occur by sharing clothing, towels, and bedding. (Source: excerpt from Scabies: DPD)

It is highly contagious and is spread primarily through sexual contact, although it also is commonly transmitted by contact with skin, infested sheets, towels, or even furniture. (Source: excerpt from Other Important STDS, NIAID Fact Sheet: NIAID)

Discussion about Contagion of Scabies:

Did my pet spread scabies to me?

No. Pets become infested with a different kind of scabies mite. If your pet is infested with scabies, (also called mange) and they have close contact with you, the mite can get under your skin and cause itching and skin irritation. However, the mite dies in a couple of days and does not reproduce. The mites may cause you to itch for several days, but you do not need to be treated with special medication to kill the mites. Until your pet is successfully treated, mites can continue to burrow into your skin and cause you to have symptoms. (Source: excerpt from Scabies: DPD)

About contagion and contagiousness:

Contagion and contagiousness refers to how easily the spread of Scabies is possible from one person to another. Other words for contagion include "infection", "infectiousness", "transmission" or "transmissability". Contagiousness has nothing to do with genetics or inheriting diseases from parents. For an overview of contagion, see Introduction to Contagion.


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