Transmission occurs through skin-to-skin contact with an infected person, either sexual or nonsexual, or through contact with bedding or clothing that has been in contact with an infected person. The infection is usually not transmitted through casual contact, for example in a workplace.
In adults, scabies is usually transmitted by sexual contact with an infected partner, but intercourse is not necessary to transmit scabies sexually. Children transmit scabies to one another through close physical contact. Multiple members of the same family frequently become infected, often through contact with the clothing or bedding of an infected person. Outbreaks sometimes occur in hospitals and nursing homes.
There is another type of scabies mite that can be transmitted from animals to humans, particularly from dogs. Outbreaks are not uncommon among entire families in which there is an infected dog. This scabies mite is different from the human scabies mite but can still cause infection in humans, as well as symptoms similar to those previously described. The human scabies mite does not infect animals, however, and the animal scabies mite cannot be transmitted from one person to another. The infection caused by the animal scabies mite resolves on its own without treatment.