Scabies Home > Scabies Diagnosis

A diagnosis of scabies is generally made by looking at the burrows, or rash, on a person's skin after performing a physical exam and considering other symptoms. The diagnosis can be confirmed by examining a skin scraping for mites, eggs, or mite fecal matter under a microscope. Because there are typically so few mites on a person's body, the diagnosis may be negative at first.

How Is Scabies Diagnosed?

In order to make a scabies diagnosis, the doctor will likely ask about your symptoms, perform a physical exam, and possibly order certain tests.

Making a Diagnosis of Scabies Through a Physical Exam

A scabies diagnosis is most commonly made by looking at the burrows or rash on the skin. The doctor will pay particular attention to:
  • Where the rash is located
  • Its appearance
  • The possible symptoms of scabies the person is experiencing.

Making a Diagnosis Through a Skin Scraping

A scabies diagnosis can be confirmed by taking a skin scraping and seeing mites, eggs, or mite fecal matter when the scraping is looked at under a microscope. If a skin scraping or biopsy is taken and returns negative, it is possible that you may still be infested. Typically, there are fewer than 10 mites on the entire body of an infested person; this makes it easy for an infestation to be missed.
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Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
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