Scabies in People with Weak Immune System

Scabies, a contagious skin condition characterized by severe itching which can infect any healthy individual. But with strong response from host’s immune system, it’ll face resistance in spreading or you can say, it’ll take longer to cure if the immune system is weak. Scabies mites are already hard to kill because this parasite enjoys stronger resistance against water, lotions, and creams. The mites live underneath epidermis, thus, not easily exposed to external agents. Depending upon levels of host’s natural immunity, scabies might take longer time to cure as compared to average, health person with a functional immune system.

What is Scabies?

Scabies is a contagious skin condition and cases of scabies infestation are common across the world. But researchers suggest rates of scabies infestation are higher in under-developed, third world countries.

Scabies is caused by mite called Sarcoptes Scabiei. Female mite penetrates host’s skin to live inside it, feed on it, reproduce and keep digging to other parts. A mite can lay 2-3 eggs that’ll become adults within a week or two. The reproduction cycle would keep multiplying, thus, causing spread of infestation.


Due to body’s response of immune system of host to the foreign agents, mite in this case; inflammation and sever itching appear. Itching is consistent either on one patch of skin or on multiple spots, and it prompts itching sensation increases during night while host is in bed. At night, itching gets so bad that people suffer sleep deprivation unless medication is provided.

Second characteristic of scabies infestation is appearance of red bumps in the affected skin patch. These bumps are houses for mite’s eggs. These bumps may remain for a week or two even after complete termination of mites and their eggs. The debris takes time to disappear, and so does the symptoms.

Does scabies occur in people with poor immune system?

Scabies mite can infest anyone who comes in contact with infested person or objects. At a time, a host can get infested by 6-12 mites and this number can grow without treatment. The ratio of reproduction and egg survival faces resistance from immune system, thus, slowing down the speed with which it grows on host’s body.

However, in people having weaker immune system it becomes more vulnerable to worsened skin condition because reproduction rate is higher and mites face very low or no resistance from body. The only resistance in such cases is provided through medication.

People infected with HIV/AIDS, for instance, if infested with scabies, are unlikely to recover from infestation. Most severe type of scabies, known as Norwegian Scabies or crusted scabies, reported in HIV/AIDS patients. Person with crusted scabies can have millions of mites and millions of eggs underneath skin. The skin literally develops cracks that would not heal.

Sometimes, temporary weakness hits people due to other reasons, like pregnancy, in case of children and elderly people, people facing other existing medical conditions and so on.

People in third world countries are more vulnerable to scabies infestation due to unhygienic and unhealthy living conditions. Poverty results in poor health conditions, thus, weak immunity and that makes it easier for scabies mite to survive longer than usual in host body.

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