Background: Scabies is one of the common skin diseases observed in developing countries. The incidence of scabies has decreased dramatically since the late 1980s in Korea. However, recent outbreaks in nursing homes or hospitals have been raising public health concerns.
Objective: We intended to evaluate the epidemiological and clinical aspects of patients diagnosed with scabies in Korea. In particular, we tried to investigate the changing trend of contact sources in our society.
Methods: A multi-center cross sectional study was performed at 25 hospitals in Korea. We included 1,539 patients who were diagnosed with scabies. These patients showed scabies mites or eggs under microscopic examination, or clinical improvement after treatment. Their medical records with information of contact sources were reviewed.
Results: Six hundred and ninety-three patients were males and 826 were females. Patients’ age from 70 to 79 was the most common followed by patients below 10 years of age. More patients were found in the fall and winter months. 66.7% of patients were thought to be infected at their homes which were situated next to nursing homes or hospitals (23.1%). Place of infection could not be verified in 39.3% of patients. 25.8% of patients were suggested to be infected through contact with medical staff or patients from hospitals or nursing homes.
Conclusion: We confirmed that the contact sources of scabies are changing in our society; nursing homes and hospitals are emerging sources of infection. The majority of patients are old or very young who are vulnerable to many diseases. Therefore, dermatologists should pay attention to new contact sources and appropriate care of patients.
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