Scabies is highly contagious, and person to person spread occurs via direct contact with the skin. Transfer from clothes and bedding occurs rarely and only if contaminated by infested people immediately beforehand. The infestation occurs at all ages, but particularly in children. It is a common public health problem in poor communities and is widespread in many underdeveloped countries.

A variety of effective topical treatments are available to treat scabies, including permethrin, benzyl benzoate, malathion, lindane, crotamiton. The treatment you select is determined by factors such as local epidemiology of resistance, drug toxicity, and cost and availability. To maximise treatment success, correct application of topical preparations is of cardinal importance. Permethrin should be applied twice, with applications one week apart. Treatment should be applied to the whole body, including web spaces of fingers and toes, the genitalia, and under the nails.