December 24, 1973

An "Epidemic" of Scabies

Author Affiliations

State University of New York Downstate Medical Center Brooklyn, NY

JAMA. 1973;226(13):1568. doi:10.1001/jama.1973.03230130056022

To the Editor.—  A few recent articles report the sudden upsurge of scabies throughout the world. This letter describes an epidemic involving a 300-bed community hospital.The patient reponsible for the epidemic was a 70-year-old man who went on a cruise with his wife in the spring of 1973. He suffered a stroke the very last day of his cruise and was bedridden on board ship. By the time he arrived in New York City, neurologic symptoms had improved, but a generalized eczematous eruption with marked pruritus was diagnosed as neurodermatitis. At the same time this patient's wife also complained of pruritus that had been more intense at night. However, she suffered no rash except for a few scratch marks.The patient was hospitalized because of a second stroke, and approximately three weeks after admission, his physician developed a pruritic eruption accompanied by the appearance of a rash. And within