Clinical picture

There are two forms of scabies:

  • Crusted scabies (Norwegian scabies) This form is highly contagious; Contamination occurs through direct skin contact, contaminated objects or (sporadically) the air.
  • 'Ordinary' scabies: this form is relatively less contagious; Infection only occurs after intensive skin contact.

Scabies is an itchy skin disorder, often accompanied by a rash and sores from scratching. Typical for the diagnosis are the typical ducts in the epidermis between, among others, the fingers and other skin folds.

Additional information from the RIVM.

Infection route

Direct contact between two people (>15 minutes) and, to a lesser extent, through contaminated clothing and bedding.

Contagious period

Anyone with an active infection.

Incubation time

On average, itchy symptoms start 2-6 weeks after infection.

Potential infectees

All staff who can become occupationally infected through contact with infected patients and materials. This concerns not only staff in the health care sector, but also staff of support services.

More specific information on vulnerable groups can be found at


Training: There is an extensive information package from the RIVM available on hygienic working practices in the health care sector.

General measures: Follow the internal hygiene instructions.

Attention should be paid not only to the medical staff, but also to the cleaners and launderette staff.

Vaccination: not possible.

Post-exposure policy

Treatment of the infected worker. The treatment of scabies is based on the following pillars:

  • Simultaneous treatment of the patient and all contacts with a scabicide. This almost always suffices for ordinary scabies and is therefore the most important measure.
  • Washing or airing clothing and bedding of patients and contacts. This reduces the small chance of infestation or re-infestation.
  • Domestic cleaning of the environment (only in the case of crusted scabies).
  • Itch reduction. Scabicides are the only effective means to reduce itching.

Staff can return to work 24 hours after treatment. However, itchy complaints can persist for weeks to months.

Potential infectors

Contaminated and untreated staff.