Human scabies, a common infestation, has a worldwide distribution with a variable impact and presentation depending on the clinical situation. In developed, high-income settings, health institution and residential home outbreaks challenge health and social care services. In resource-poor settings, it is the downstream sequelae of staphylococcal and streptococcal bacteraemia, induced by scratching, which have a significant impact on the long-term health of communities. Over the past decade scabies has been recognised as a “neglected tropical disease” (NTD) by the World Health Organisation, has an accepted practical system of global diagnostic criteria and is being adopted into integrated programmes of mass drug administration for NTDs in field settings. This review seeks to summarise the recent advances in the understanding of scabies and highlight the advocacy and research headlines with their implication for diagnosis and management of outbreaks and individuals. In addition, it will indicate the priorities and questions that remain.

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