Collection of Specimens for Scabies Testing

The diagnosis of scabies can be confirmed by the demonstration of the mites or eggs. Because the mites are located under the surface of the skin, scrapings must be made from the infected area.

Materials:

  • 1 x 3 glass slides
  • sterile scalpel
  • mineral oil
  • sterile screwcap cup, 4 oz. (must be large enough to hold the glass slides)
  • applicator sticks
  • scotch tape

Skin Scraping Technique:

  1. Place a drop of mineral oil on a sterile scalpel blade. Mites will adhere to the oil and skin scales will mix with the oil. The refractivity differences will be greater between the mite and the oil.
  2. Allow some of the oil to flow onto the papule.
  3. Scrape vigorously six or seven times to remove the top of the papule. (There should be tiny flecks of blood in the oil.)
  4. Transfer the oil and scraped material to a glass slide (an applicator stick can be used).
  5. Add 1 or 2 extra drops of mineral oil to the slide and stir the mixture. Any large clumps can be crushed to expose hidden mites.
  6. Place another slide on top of the slide with the material and tape the 2 slides together at each end to prevent them from coming apart.
  7. Place in a sterile cup large enough to hold the slides so that the lid can be screwed on firmly.
  8. Label the container with the appropriate patient information.
  9. Fill out a requisition and request: skin scraping to r/o scabies.
  10. Submit to laboratory for examination.
No Appointment Necessary
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