Scabies are tiny mites that are invisible to the naked eye. The mites are so small that they can burrow unseen into the outermost layers of skin and lay eggs. In a few weeks the eggs hatch, and the new mites move to other areas causing an extremely itchy, bumpy rash. It can easily spread from person to person, either by direct contact or through contact with towels, linens and clothes. Not all affected people will itch.
Scabies infestation can be diagnosed with a thorough skin examination as well as a sampling of red bumps or blisters, after which the skin sample is examined under the microscope. Treatment is available, and generally involves application of a cream from neck to toes, overnight, with thorough washing of sheets, towels and clothes the next morning. This process is generally repeated one week later, and in addition, it is often recommended that all other family members be treated as well, even if they have no clear signs of the rash yet.