Scabies is an itchy skin condition caused by the microscopic mite Sarcoptes scabei. It is common all over the world, and can affect anyone. Scabies spreads quickly in crowded conditions where there is frequent skin-to-skin contact between people. Hospitals, child-care centers, and nursing homes are examples. Scabies can easily infect sex partners and other household members. Sharing clothes, towels, and bedding can sometimes spread scabies. This can happen much more easily when the infested person has crusted scabies. You cannot get scabies from a pet. Pets get a different mite infection called mange.