Parasitic skin infections can cause severe itching and be distressing. Most skin parasites are insects or worms that burrow into the skin for part or all of their life cycle. Also, some systemic parasitic infections have cutaneous manifestations; these include certain nematodes (eg, ancylostomiasis, dracunculosis, strongyloidiasis, toxocariasis—see Nematodes (Roundworms)) and flukes (eg, schistosomiasis—see Trematodes (Flukes): Schistosomiasis). Very rarely, patients have delusional parasitosis, in which no parasites are present, but patients are convinced they are infested (see Parasitic Skin Infections: Delusional Parasitosis).
Last full review/revision March 2013 by James G. H. Dinulos, MD