Norwegian scabies is a severe form of the scabies infestation. It most commonly affects the elderly, people taking steroid medications, and people with certain conditions (such as Down syndrome or leukemia). Symptoms can look similar to psoriasis and include numerous blisters, a thick crust over the skin, thickened and deformed nails, and slight itching.
What Is Norwegian Scabies?
Scabies is an infestation of the skin with the microscopic mite Sarcoptes scabiei. Norwegian scabies is a severe form of this infestation.
Causes and Transmission Methods
Norwegian scabies is caused by an infestation with the scabies mite (Sarcoptes scabiei). It is spread by direct, prolonged, skin-to-skin contact with a person already infested with scabies. Infestation may also occur by sharing clothing, towels, and bedding.
(Click Scabies Causes for more information.)
Who Is at Risk?
Norwegian scabies is more common in the elderly, people taking steroid medicines, or people with the following:
- Brain or spinal cord conditions
- Mental conditions
- Senile dementia
- Down syndrome
- Weakened immune system conditions (such as HIV or AIDS).
Symptoms of Norwegian Scabies
This type of infestation can cause symptoms that look similar to psoriasis and include:
- Numerous blisters
- Thick crust over the skin
- Thickened, deformed nails
- Slight itching.
Making a Diagnosis
In order to make a Norwegian scabies diagnosis, the healthcare provider will ask a number of questions, perform a physical exam, and possibly order certain tests.
A diagnosis is most commonly made by looking at the burrows or rash. The healthcare provider will pay particular attention to where the rash is located, its appearance, and the possible symptoms of Norwegian scabies the person is experiencing. A 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.