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May 1978

Diagnosis of Scabies

Author Affiliations

Tromsø, Norway

Arch Dermatol. 1978;114(5):798. doi:10.1001/archderm.1978.01640170092024

To the Editor.—  Identification of the scabies mite by scrapings from the skin or biopsy was described in the September Archives by Goldman (113:1296,1977) and in an earlier issue by Orkin (111:1431, 1975). Prof G. Lomholt taught the following procedure as was earlier described by Heilesen1 and also Mellanby2: Use magnifying glasses on spectacles, a powerful light-source, and a sewing needle mounted on a holder. Find a burrow (at least 90% are located near the hands2,3) and look for a dark point at one end. This will be the mite. The roof of the burrow is lifted off by-side-to-side movements of the needle, and the needlepoint should be directed toward the mite, which can be easily seen as a glistening, rounded little spot clinging to the needle. Transfer the Sarcoptes to a glass slide, and it can be visualized by low-power light microscopy. The Sarcoptes scabiei can