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October 2005

Reflectance-Mode Confocal Microscopy for the In Vivo Detection of Sarcoptes scabiei

Author Affiliations


Arch Dermatol. 2005;141(10):1336. doi:10.1001/archderm.141.10.1336

Reflectance Confocal Microscopy (RCM) represents a novel technique for the in vivo visualization of the skin at a nearly histologic resolution. We investigated the possibility of detecting Sarcoptes scabiei using RCM.

Three patients with lesions suggestive of scabies were examined by RCM. On confocal images, S scabiei appeared as an ovoid body with a dorsal surface marked by refractive bristles and spines (denticles). In the anterior part of the mite we detected refractive squat structures with a conoid appearance, corresponding to the 2 pairs of short legs, and a polygonal highly refractive area, corresponding to the head. The mite’s body was marked by transverse corrugations with a linear symmetric appearance (Figure 1).