Limited Examination Detects Scabies With High Sensitivity

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Examination limited to hands, feet, and lower legs has a sensitivity of about 90 percent for detecting scabies.
Examination limited to hands, feet, and lower legs has a sensitivity of about 90 percent for detecting scabies.

HealthDay News — Examination limited to hands, feet, and lower legs has a sensitivity of about 90 percent for detecting scabies, according to a study published online Dec. 27 in PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases.

Michael Marks, Ph.D., from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, and colleagues analyzed data from three population-based surveys of scabies. Individuals were classified as having scabies absent or present overall based on whole-body assessment and in each of nine regions of the body. A total of 1,373 individuals with scabies were included.

The researchers found that the body regions with the highest yield were the hands, feet, and lower legs, with sensitivity of 51.2, 49.7, and 48.3 percent, respectively, compared with whole-body examination. Examination of the exposed components of both limbs yielded a sensitivity of 93.2 percent. Regardless of scabies severity or the presence or absence of secondary impetigo, the sensitivity of this limited examination was greater than 90 percent.

"Our study adds valuable data to the development of a simplified diagnostic process for scabies that may be applied to guide decisions about future public health interventions," the authors write.

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