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A Journal on Nephrology and Urology

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Minerva Urologica e Nefrologica 2001 June;53(2):69-73

language: Italian

Scabies in a Dialysis Unit. Mystery and prejudice

Deabate M. C., Calitri V., Licata C., Fidelio T., Rocchietti M., Pieri F. *, Gagliano P. **, Rabbia C. ***, Dogliani M.

ASL 6 - Ospedale Ciriè - Torino UOA Nefrologia e Dialisi
*UOA Medicina
**UOA Igiene Pubblica
***UOA Servizio Farmaceutico


Background. Pruritus is one of the most common symptoms of uremia. The etiology of uremic pruritus is steel incompletly known. Scabies may be a cause of itching in these patients.
Methods. Retrospective analysis of beginning and developing of a scabies outbreak in a Dialysis Unit with 160 patients.
Results. Sixteen cases of scabies were observed in the Dialysis Unit from April 1998 and January 1999: in 6 of them the scarification was positive. In 10 the scarification was negative, but itching disappeared after treatment with benzyl benzoate 20%. Many courses were necessary (max 6). Prophylaxis (treatment with benzyl benzoate 20% for 3 days and lingery cleaning) was applied to approximately 400 people. No cases were observed among health care workers of the Dialysis Unit.
Conclusions. In a Dialysis Unit the diagnosis of scabies is difficult because the patients often have generalized itching; moreover some of them are affected by neuropathy that may make the infestation of scabies more difficult to identify. The most important factor to limitate the outbreak seems to be the prophylaxis of people who take care of patients (health-care workers, family members and car-drivers). It seems also necessary to repeat the treatments many times. The most exposed patients seemed to be those with diminished independence, diabetes and malnutrition.

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