Clinical presentation and risk factors of increased scabies cases in the Western region of Saudi Arabia in 2016-2018

Mohammed Wasil A. Jastaniah, Ziad Faisal K. Zimmo, Mazen Waleed S. Bakallah, Mohannad Saeed S. Hantoush, Mohammed Abdal-Aziz


Objectives: To describe the clinical characteristics of scabies in the Makkah province and analyze risk factors associated with the outbreak. 


Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted between June 2016 and June 2018 by collecting the data of patients reported to have infestations at King Abdulaziz Medical City, Makkah, Saudi Arabia. A comparative analysis was conducted of patients reported before and during the outbreak of scabies. 


Results: Of the 352 patients identified, the range of cases was 0-24 cases per month before the months of the outbreak (March to April 2018). However, the actual number of cases reported increased 2.8 times the expected maximum in April 2018. Saudi nationals were 2.5 times more affected than non-Saudi nationals during the outbreak period compared to before the outbreak (95%CI: 1.02, 6.05, p=0.045). Symptoms involving upper arms, axillae (53.7% versus 68.7%, p=0.048), and torso (50% versus 66.4%, p=0.033) were significantly under-represented among outbreak patients. The presence of additional comorbidities was reported more frequently in patients diagnosed with scabies before versus during the outbreak months (25.8% versus 8.2%, p=0.014). Permethrin prescriptions increased (75.6% versus 41%), crotamiton prescriptions decreased (13.5% versus 48%), and the hospitalization was lower (3.8% versus 13.5%) during the outbreak. 


Conclusion: The clinical presentation and risk factors of scabies change significantly with scabies outbreaks, and consequently so do the lines of treatment in Saudi Arabia. The present study highlights the importance of adopting strategies related to community infection control and prevention.


epidemiology; outbreak; prevention; risk factors; Saudi Arabia; scabies; treatment

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