What Is “Norwegian Scabies”?
The term "Norwegian scabies" refers to a particularly severe form of scabies that is also known as crusted scabies. Crusted scabies has been called Norwegian scabies because the condition was first described in Norway in the mid-19th century.
Norwegian scabies is different from traditional scabies as there seems to be a problem with the immune response to the mites, allowing for the infestation of an individual with hundreds of thousands of the mites. Crusted scabies almost always affects people with a compromised immune system and is observed most frequently in the elderly, mentally or physically disabled, and in patients with AIDS, lymphoma, or other conditions that decrease the effectiveness of the immune response. The lesions of this distinctive form of scabies are extensive and may spread all over the body. The elbows, knees, palms, scalp, and soles of the feet are most commonly the original sites of involvement, and the scaly areas eventually take on a wart-like appearance. The fingernails can be thickened and discolored. Interestingly, itching may be minimal or absent in this form of scabies.