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August 1929


Author Affiliations


Arch Derm Syphilol. 1929;20(2):167-170. doi:10.1001/archderm.1929.01440020019003

The demonstration of the itch mite in 1834 in Alibert's clinic in the Saint Louis Hospital in Paris and its establishment as the cause of a specific disease furnish one of the most interesting stories in medicine.

The disease scabies is so contagious that this fact could not escape the notice of unprejudiced observers. However, observers were prejudiced, and for a long time the learned held to the view that all cutaneous eruptions were a kind of excrement, a throwing off by this organ of depraved humors arising in the body. This view gave to the disease manifestations on the cutaneous surface a dignity and an importance as being one of the chief means of arriving at a diagnosis which it later lost and has never recovered.

The cutaneous manifestations of scabies are not simple. The itch mite has as a consistent associate the streptococcus and as a frequent associate