Research & Reference Articles

“Dedicated to finding effective solutions for bird mite infestations of humans and their environment, encouraging those afflicted, facilitating research and a better understanding of human parasitosis.”

Research & Reference Articles

The following research articles are provided to present a better understanding of bird mites affecting humans. This information can be provided to the physician, dermatologist, or the PCO; in order to more effectively treat the person and the environment when a bird mite infestation is being addressed.

***True ignorance is not simply a lack of ‘knowing’ something…but the reluctance for ‘learning’ anything!***

TITLE: Unusual Scalp Dermatitis in Humans Caused by the Mite, Dermatophagoides (Acarina, epidermoptidae)

JOURNAL/DATE: Proceedings of the Entomological Society of Washington Vol. 53, February, 1951, No. 1.

AUTHOR(S): Jay Traver, Department of Zoology, University of Massachusetts, Amherst

ABSTRACT/SUMMARY: The writer and two other members of her immediate family, all of us adult females, have been for the past several years the unwilling hosts to the mite, Dermatophagoides scheremetewskyi Bogdanow. Since the published reports on this mite as a parasite of humans are not numerous, it seems desirable to present an account of the activities of the mite from first hand information. Symptoms, treatment employed in the attempt to control or eradicate the mite, reaction of certain members of the medical profession to this problem, and the present status of the situation are therefore set forth.

IMPLICATIONS: Although this article dates to 1951, it is one of the most comprehensive research articles written on the subject of human parasitosis. It was written by a Zoologist, who was personally afflicted for many years by an acaroid mite, not previously documented as being a nuisance to humans. It is also documented elsewhere that the mite in question will infest chickens and birds, and therefore can be considered an occasional pest to humans. Because of the significance of this article, and the author’s declaration concerning the lack of adequate information in the medical community and the futility in completely eradicating the mite, the complete text is being made available for viewing.

Read the full text here.

TITLE: Bird-Mite Infestation

JOURNAL/DATE: New England Journal Of Medicine, April, 20, 2006


ABSTRACT/SUMMARY: A 46-year-old woman and her husband had their sleep disturbed by pruritus, waking up to find similar, itchy papular lesions over their finger webs (Panel A), axillae, groins, and buttocks. They found small (less than 1 mm) mites (Panel B) moving across their skin, which light microscopy revealed to be Ornithonyssus bursa (Panel C), bloodsucking bird mites commonly found in pigeons’ nests. Their pruritus improved after the application of crotamiton to their lesions and after the pigeon’s nest hidden under the air conditioner above their bedroom was cleaned.

IMPLICATIONS: The lesions are often mistaken for scabies, and so an accurate assessment is needed. The physician can better make the diagnosis with a skin scraping or light microscopy, not just a visual examination. Sleep disturbance is often the tell-tale sign of bird mites.

TITLE: Human Infestation With Bird Mites In Wollongong

JOURNAL/DATE: Communicable Diseases Intelligence – Vol 27 No 2 June 2003

AUTHOR(S): Charles R Watson

ABSTRACT/SUMMARY: This is a report of a case of bird mite infestation which occurred in Wollongong in mid-December 1996. The individual suffered hundreds of bites, most of which were marked by itchy red papules 3-4 mm in diameter. Tiny mobile parasites (< 1 mm) collected from the skin and adjacent bedroom wall were identified as bird mites from the family Gamasidae, most probably from the genus Ornithonyssus. The source of the infestation was a starling nest under the eaves adjacent to the bedroom.

IMPLICATIONS: Importance for early detection and identification to achieve success with bird mites. The author was an Australian entomologist.

TITLE: Dermatitis in humans associated with the mites Pyemotes tritici, Dermanyssus gallinae, Ornithonyssus bacoti and Androlaelaps casalis in Israel

JOURNAL/DATE: Medical and Veterinary Entomology Volume 16 – December 2002

AUTHOR(S): S. Rosen, I. Yeruham and Y. Braverman

ABSTRACT/SUMMARY: Multiple erythematous papules accompanied by severe pruritus were observed in humans bitten by the mites (Acari) Pyemotes tritici (Newport) (Pyemotidae), Dermanyssus gallinae (De Geer) (Dermanyssidae), Ornithonyssus bacoti Hirst (Macronyssidae) and Androlaelaps casalis (Berlese) (Laelapidae). Eight case histories are presented and the impact of these species on human health is discussed.

IMPLICATIONS: This report is from Israel. Bird mite infestations of human occur throughout the world, and have been documented in many foreign medical journals.

TITLE: Avian Mite Dermatitis

JOURNAL/DATE: Clin Exp Dermatol. 2000 Mar;25(2):129-31

AUTHOR(S): Orton DI, Warren LJ, Wilkinson JD., Department of Dermatology, Amersham Hospital, Amersham, UK.

ABSTRACT/SUMMARY: Avian mite infestation is a rare cause of pruritic dermatoses in humans. The mites spend the majority of their life cycle on the avian host but may be transmitted to man as a result of direct contact and also through airborne spread. We describe a case of infestation with the Northern Fowl Mite (Ornithonyssus sylviarum) from an abandoned birds nest in the roof of a patients home. This caused a pruritic erythematous papular eruption on exposed sites that settled with topical steroids. We discuss the diagnosis and range of clinical manifestations produced by avian mites.

IMPLICATIONS: This report is from England. Documents airborne transmission of these mites. Some have reported they initially received mite bites while doing outside yardwork/landscaping near trees where birds have nested.

TITLE: Avian mite bites acquired from a new source–pet gerbils: report of 2 cases and review of the literature.

JOURNAL/DATE: Arch Dermatol. 2001 Feb;137(2):167-70

AUTHOR(S): Lucky AW, et al.

ABSTRACT/SUMMARY: Cutaneous manifestations of avian mite bites are not well recognized by physicians or patients. Clinical signs and symptoms are usually caused by bites from avian mites that have infested domestic poultry or birds nesting in or near human habitation. This report details 2 cases of pruritic papules acquired from avian mites that had infested pet gerbils and reviews the dermatologic literature about avian mites. OBSERVATIONS: An 11-year-old boy and an unrelated 10-year-old girl each had mysterious, pruritic papules for many months before their pet gerbils were found to be infested with Ornithonyssus sylviarum (the northern fowl mite) and Dermanyssus gallinae (the chicken mite), respectively. Symptoms resolved when the gerbils were removed from the home. CONCLUSIONS: Because infestation of pet gerbils with avian mites has never been reported, cases of avian mite bites and dermatitis may have gone unrecognized or misdiagnosed. Inquiry about ownership of pet gerbils may be helpful in patients with mysterious bites.

TEXT EXTRACT: “The second reported case, from Colorado, involved a 10-year-old girl with no prior history of skin complaints who suddenly developed an asymmetrically distributed, pruritic eruption on her trunk and extremities. Her teacher had recently given her and other students pet gerbils to care for over spring break, and she also had a pet dog. In contrast to the first case, repeated examinations of both the dog and gerbils failed to reveal any arthropod or mite infestation. However, inspection of the child’s room at night revealed dark mites visible on her furniture, which were identified by a veterinary parasitologist as D gallinae. In contrast to O sylviarum (NFM), D gallinae takes a blood meal on its host nocturnally, then drops off into nest material. Consequently, repeat inspection of infested animals and humans usually fails to reveal the parasite, making diagnosis challenging.”

IMPLICATIONS: Documents human mite problems from pet gerbils, which also had been infested with bird mites. Demonstrates how bird mites are adept and can feed on many types of mammals, and it is no longer just birds. Some have reported that their pets have been constantly bitten once the home was infested.

TITLE: Nosocomial dermatitis and pruritus caused by pigeon mite infestation.

JOURNAL/DATE: Arch Intern Med. 1987 Dec;147(12):2185-7.

AUTHOR(S): Regan AM, Metersky ML, Craven DE. Department of Nursing, Boston City Hospital MA.

ABSTRACT/SUMMARY: We report an outbreak of pigeon mite infestation involving two patients, two nurses, and one physician on a medical ward in a municipal hospital. The index patient developed a diffuse, pruritic erythematous maculopapular rash on his trunk and extremities. Dermanyssus gallinae, a nonburrowing, blood-sucking avian mite was identified on the patient and his bedding. A second patient who complained of scalp pruritus had mites present on her pillow and bed linen. The intern taking care of both patients, and two nurses who had contact with these patients, had mite infestation. Pigeons roosting on the air conditioners and near the doors connecting the patients’ rooms to a sunporch were the source of the mites. The outbreak abated after control measures were instituted that prevented pigeons from roosting on the porch. This outbreak illustrates an unusual cause of nosocomial pruritic dermatitis that may be misdiagnosed as scabies or pediculosis. Physicians and health care personnel working in metropolitan areas are alerted to mites as a cause of pruritic dermatitis that may be chronic, recurrent, or unresponsive to ectoparasiticides.

IMPLICATIONS: Nosocomial (hospital related infections) related to bird mites are documented here. There are also reports from other sources of probable nursing home related outbreaks of mite acariasis, which are often misdiagnosed as scabies. Proper detection and removal of the source of the infestation is important.

TITLE: Persistent scalp infestation by Dermanyssus gallinae in an Emilian country-woman. [Article in Italian]

JOURNAL/DATE: Dipartimento di Sanita Pubblica Veterinaria, Universita di Bologna, Via Tolara di Sopra 50, 40064 Ozzano Emilia, BO, Italy.

AUTHOR(S): Pampiglione S, Pampiglione G, Pagani M, Rivasi F.

ABSTRACT/SUMMARY: A case of persistent infestation of the scalp due to Dermanyssus gallinae.–Infestation due to Dermanyssus gallinae, the common red mite of poultry, in a country-woman aged 69 years from Crevalcore (Emilia-Romagna region, Northern Italy), is described. The case was unusual either for its location, the scalp, and for its persistence, 9 months. Specimens of the mite were also found in the henhouse adjacent to the patient’s house.

IMPLICATIONS: This report is from Italy. Although the authors state it is unusual for it’s persistence (9 months), many have reported much longer problems from chronic bird mite infestations.

TITLE: Parasitic pruritus: bird mite zoonosis [Article in Dutch]

JOURNAL/DATE: Maria-Ziekenhuis, afd. Dermatologie, Tilburg.1996 Dec 21;140(51):2550-2

AUTHOR(S): van Dooren-Greebe RJ.

ABSTRACT/SUMMARY: In three women with persistent pruritus, aged 49, 28 and 4 years, infestation with the bird or chicken mite (Dermanyssus gallinae) was demonstrated. These mites live in narrow openings and cracks close to the bird housing during the daytime. At night, they attack the birds on whose blood they live. When their host disappears, they may attack men, notably when their breeding places are in or near houses. Mite bites result in urticarial and itchy papulovesicular skin eruptions. Treatment of bird mite infestation consists of removing the old nests. Treatment of the patients is symptomatic. Epizoonosis belongs in the differential diagnosis of pruritus; infestation with bird or chicken mites is one of the possibilities.

IMPLICATIONS: The article states that treatment of the patient is ‘symptomatic’, which means they will be treated for the skin dermatitis. This does not always clear the problem in the environment though, even when the nest is removed, as many have found out.

TITLE: Avian Mite Dermatitis

JOURNAL/DATE: Pediatrics. 1996 May;97(5):743-5.

AUTHOR(S): Baselga E, Drolet BA, Esterly NB. Department of Dermatology, Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee 53226

ABSTRACT/SUMMARY: This study describes two cases of avian mite dermatitis — a little-known but widespread condition. A college student presented with acute, severe pruritus and generalized wheals. When she returned for a follow-up visit, she reported that her brother had similar skin lesions, and, upon examination, both she and her brother had widespread erythematous papules, many with central papules. Examination of a sample showed an 8-legged mite consistent with an avian mite. After carefully cleaning her room and bedclothes, her symptoms resolved. She remained asymptomatic until the following spring. The presumed source of the mites was a pigeon’s nest found under the eaves of the house.

IMPLICATIONS: Documentation of human mite infestation, which the authors state is “a little known but widespread condition”. Confirming what many have learned the hard way.

TITLE: Ornithonyssus (Acari: Macronyssidae) mite dermatitis in poultry field-workers in Almarg, Qalyobiya governorate.

JOURNAL/DATE: J Egypt Soc Parasitol. 2005 Apr;35(1):213-22.

AUTHOR(S): Mazyad SA, Abel El-Kadi M., Research and Training Center on Vectors of Diseases, Ain Shams Universty, Cairo 11566, Egypt.

ABSTRACT/SUMMARY: Cutaneous manifestations of bird and rat mite infestation in man are not easily recognized by physicians or patients. Clinical signs and symptoms are developed secondary to bites of mites that have infested rats, domestic poultry or birds nesting in or near human habitation and comes into contact with man. This study details 4 cases of pruritic dermatitis developed in four field workers in poultry farms in Al-Marg district, Qalyobia governorate, Egypt. The zoonotic species of Ornithoyssus sp., (Family Macronyssidae) was isolated from all samples collected from patients’ habitat and the role played by Ornithonyssus mites in causing dermatitis in man was discussed.

IMPLICATIONS: This report from Egypt documents human dermatitis from bird and rodent mites. Although many dermatologists and doctors are unaware of its occurrence, the person who is bothered by them should let the physician know that it is fully documented in the medical literature from many countries. Oftentimes medical personnel think that they should see the mite on the skin and that is how they would make the diagnosis, but many times that is not possible. Even vets often think that they will see the mites on the animal, but usually they will need to rely on the symptoms and the owner’s own story to make the diagnosis.

TITLE: Occupational otitis externa in chicken catchers.

JOURNAL/DATE: J Laryngol Otol. 1997 Apr;111(4):366-7

AUTHOR(S): Rossiter A.,Department of Occupational Health, Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital (Heavitree), UK.

ABSTRACT/SUMMARY: Otitis externa (ear infection) is only occasionally occupational in origin and infestations of the ear are even less common. Two cases of occupational otitis externa due to infestation with Dermanyssus gallinae, the red poultry mite, are reported occurring in poultry workers.

IMPLICATIONS: Although this abstract is short, it documents that bird mites do infest the ears of those affected by them. Many people have reported problems from bird mites invading the ears, nostrils, and even eyes, especially at night. This is also a problem for pets in the infested home.

TITLE: An Infestation of a Human Habitation by Dermanyssus Gallinae (Degeer, 1778) (Acarina: Dermanyssidae) in New York City Resulting in Sanguisugent Attacks upon the Occupants

JOURNAL/DATE: Am. J. Trop. Med. Hyg., 7(6), 1958, pp. 627-629

AUTHOR(S): Roger W. Williams, School of Public Health and Administrative Medicine, Columbia University

ABSTRACT/SUMMARY: Although a marked clinical dermatitis is common in some individuals that become closely associated with the bird mite, Dermanyssus gallinae, the literature presents little evidence that this mite will ingest human blood and many investigators feel that this species will never ingest it. The invasion of a New York City apartment by these mites resulting in attacks on the occupants is described. The finding of mammalian erythrocytes in the digestive tract of mites collected from this apartment, some of which were taken from the bed of the occupants, as well as the appearance of fresh blood splotches on the bed sheets resulting from crushed mites which had recently fed, offer some factual evidence that D. gallinae may, on occasion at least, partake of human blood.

IMPLICATIONS: Although an older research article (1958), it clearly documented human blood was ingested by D. Gallinae. Which was contrary to what many had previously thought; that bird mites do not feed on humans, only birds.

TITLE: Acaroid mite, intestinal and urinary acariasis

JOURNAL/DATE: World J Gastroenterol 2003;9(4):874-877

AUTHOR(S): Chao-Pin Li, Yu-Bao Cui, Jian Wang, Qing-Gui Yang, Ye Tian

ABSTRACT/SUMMARY: Various species of mites often infest stored foodstuffs and various drugs, and cause losses in food and drug products, especially in humid and warm area[1-9]. They are small creatures of about half a millimeter in body size and creamy white in color, proving difficult to be detected from drugs and food products. Therefore, the incidence of various forms of human acariasis presumably caused by the ingestion of mite-infested food is unusually high in China[10]. In this study we investigates the epidemiological characteristics and pathogenic mite species of intestinal and urinary acariasis in individuals with different occupations in Anhui Province. Twenty-two species, from 9 families of mites were separated and identified.

TEXT EXTRACT: “Acaroid mite can survive in many environments including the storehouse, human and animal bodies. Its infestion in human can cause acariasis in several organs including the lung, intestine and urinary tract[17-26]. Apparently the pathogenic mites come from environment. Regarding the transmission path, the following possibilities have been proposed. First, the insects may enter the urinary tract by crawling from vulva. Second, they may enter the body through skin and reach urinary tract in some way. Third, mites in respiratory or alimentary system may enter the blood circulation, and reach kidney and urinary tract[46-50]. Acaroid in human urinary system may damage urethral epithelia, for the mites are good at digging. Furthermore, they can also invade loose connective tissue and small blood vessel in urinary tract, and caused an ulcer.”

IMPLICATIONS: Significant research that demonstrates the viability of acaroid mites to thrive in humans. These ectoparasites (environmental mites) were not previously known to infest humans; but thorough medical diagnostic tests showed the survivability of mites inside humans. Acariasis should always be a consideration for a longstanding infestation from parasites that need blood to survive; such as with bird mites.

TITLE: The Epidemiology, Diagnosis, Management, and Prevention of Ectoparasitic Diseases in Travelers

JOURNAL/DATE: J Travel Med 2006; 13: 100–111

AUTHOR(S): James H . Diaz , MD, Dr PH Schools of Public Health and Medicine, Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center, New Orleans, LA, USA

ABSTRACT/SUMMARY: Ectoparasitic diseases have been reported in travelers returning from both developed and developing nations. Ectoparasitic diseases afflict the skin and its appendages and orifices, especially the scalp, facial, and pubic hairs; external ears; nares; orbits and eyelids; and genitourinary and rectal orifices. Like endoparasites, ectoparasites may be either obligatory parasites, which need to feed on human hosts to complete their life cycles, or facultative parasites, which prefer to feed on nonhuman hosts and infest humans only as accidental or dead-end hosts.

TEXT EXTRACT: “As noted by McGarry and colleagues in Liverpool, the ubiquitous poultry red mite (UK), or red chicken mite (United States), Dermanyssus gallinae , caused most of the mite bites in a descriptive analysis of arthropod dermatoses in the UK over the period 1994 to 2000. The red chicken mite can also cause a pruritic dermatitis usually on the backs of the hands and forearms in poultry workers and can transmit both St. Louis encephalitis and western equine encephalitis. The rat mite, Ornithonyssus bacoti , is also ubiquitous in the temperate areas of Europe and the Americas, can cause a papulovesicular dermatitis in stockyard and warehouse workers, and can transmit endemic typhus caused by R typhi…Some of the most common ectoparasites, principally flea, lice, and mite infestations, have become increasingly resistant to the safest insecticides, such as the natural pyrethrins and synthetic pyrethroids.”

IMPLICATIONS: Medical research which documents that humans can become infested by ectoparasitic mites that normally would infest only other types of mammals; such as birds or rodents. The article also mentions the risk for the various disease causing pathogens that mites transmit. The article also concludes that the weak pyrethrins are ineffective for parasite control.

TITLE: Effects of Temperature and Humidity on Oviposition, Molting, and Longevity of Dermanyssus gallinae (Acari: Dermanyssidae)

JOURNAL/DATE: Journal of Medical Entomology, Volume 36, Number 1, January 1999, pp. 68-72(5) Entomological Society of America

AUTHOR(S): Nordenfors H.; Höglund J.; Uggla A.

ABSTRACT/SUMMARY: The juvenile development and survival of Dermanyssus gallinae (De Geer) kept in vitro at different temperatures and humidity were investigated to obtain biological baseline data for a Swedish population. Individual females, eggs, larvae, and protonymphs were observed with regard to egg-production, duration of various stages, and longevity when kept at different temperatures and relative humidities (RH). Female mites laid eggs at temperatures between 5 and 45°C with the highest numbers laid at 20°C and 70% RH, but development to larvae and protonymphs was only observed at temperatures ranging from 20 to 25°C. The average duration of oviposition varied from 1.0 to 3.2 d within the temperature range 20–45°C but was gradually increased to 28 d at 5°C. Specimens survived for up to 9 mo without access to food when kept in the temperature range of 5–25°C. Temperatures >45°C and at -20°C were found to be lethal. Longevity was similar for females and protonymphs kept at 30 and 45% RH, but it was enhanced at 70 and 90% RH for protonymphs. This study showed that D. gallinae can survive for a long time without feeding if the microclimate is suitable, but it does not thrive at low relative humidities and at temperature extremes. This indicates that changing of the abiotic conditions in infested poultry houses could be a possible measure to reduce mite populations.

IMPLICATIONS: Research that demonstrates how resilient bird mites can be with fluctuating temperatures and humidity levels; and the ability to survive up to 9 months without a host. They thrive with higher relative humidity (RH) levels of 70 to 90% and moderate temperatures, as can be found in a human environment. They can survive in cold temperatures to -20°C (-4°F), which implies that they can make it through a typical North American winter.

TITLE: Influence of heat and vibration on the movement of the northern fowl mite (Acari: Macronyssidae)

JOURNAL/DATE: J Med Entomol. 2004 Sep;41(5):865-72.

AUTHOR(S): Owen JP, Mullens BA., Department of Entomology, University of California

ABSTRACT/SUMMARY: Heat and vibration are common host-generated cues that ectoparasites use to orient to hosts. Three experiments evaluated effects of heat and vibration on the movement of northern fowl mite, Ornithonyssus sylviarum (Canestrini & Fanzago). Individual arrested mites in an isolation chamber always initiated movement (walking) after substrate vibration (7.8-min walking duration), but only initiated movement 50% of the time (2.8-min walking duration) upon exposure to a 3 degrees C heat fluctuation. Heat fluctuation in combination with vibration extended the period of activity by approximately 50% (11.6-min walking duration) compared with activity initiated by vibration alone. Mites with longer time off-host moved for shorter durations. In a choice test, individual mites consistently moved closer to a 35 degrees C heat source 1 or 6 mm away, but not to a heat source 11 mm away. In a circular arena, mites were able to orient accurately to a 35 degrees C heat source and reached the arena edge almost 4 times faster (11.2 s) than mites without a heat source (41.2 s). These results suggest that northern fowl mite is capable of directed thermo-orientation, as well as modulation of activity depending on the type of sensory information perceived. The adaptive significance of this orientation for a “permanent” ectoparasite is discussed.

IMPLICATIONS: Demonstrates how mites use heat and vibration cues in the environment. This knowledge can often be used to help with a mite infestation. For example, a heat source can be used in a room to attract mites with glue traps to catch them. Some have used a hot water bottle or portable heater for this purpose. Even an IR heat lamp can be used to attract mites.

TITLE: Dermatitis in a horse associated with the poultry mite (Dermanyssus gallinae)

JOURNAL/DATE: Veterinary Dermatology [Vet Dermatol] 2008 Feb; Vol. 19 (1), pp. 38-43

AUTHOR(S): Mignon B; Losson B, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Department of Infectious and Parasitic Diseases, University of Liège, Liège, Belgium

ABSTRACT/SUMMARY: This is the first documented case report of dermatitis associated with the poultry mite (Dermanyssus gallinae) in a horse. It occurred in a 16-year-old horse that was in contact with domestic hens. Clinical signs consisted of severe pruritus, with self-induced hair loss mainly on the head. Despite the multiple skin scrapings performed during both day- and nighttime, mites were only isolated from the in-contact poultry and from the horse’s environment, and not the horse. The animal was treated using a 2% permethrin solution, sprayed on the entire body once a week for 4 weeks, and by decontamination of the horse’s immediate environment. Although eradication of the mites and elimination of further contact between the horse and the poultry were not achievable, recurrence of dermatitis was prevented by regular applications of permethrin on the horse and biannual decontamination of the horse’s stable.

IMPLICATIONS: The article states that it was unable to find the mite on the horse when examined, which is not uncommon for D. Gallinae. It parasitizes the host mainly at night and hides during the day and when not active. Humans bothered by this mite will typically not see it on the skin. Further documentation of bird mites affecting mammals other than birds.

TITLE: Susceptibilities of northern fowl mite, Ornithonyssus sylviarum (Acarina: Macronyssidae), and chicken mite, Dermanyssus gallinae (Acarina: Dermanyssidae), to selected acaricides.

JOURNAL/DATE: Exp Appl Acarol. 1991 Dec;13(2):137-42

AUTHOR(S): Fletcher MG, et al.

ABSTRACT/SUMMARY: The relative toxicities of ten acaricides to northern fowl mite, Ornithonyssus sylviarum (Canestrini and Fanzago), and the chicken mite, Dermanyssus gallinae (De Geer), were determined simultaneously by holding the mites inside disposable glass Pasteur pipettes previously immersed in acetone solutions of various concentrations (w/v) of technical grade acaricides. The LC90s (parts per million) of the acaricides after 24 h exposure for the northern fowl mite and the chicken mite, respectively, were: bendiocarb (13.1, 0.18), tetrachlorvinphos (14.5, 4.07), carbaryl (15.0, 0.83), pirimiphos methyl (18.3, 2.03), permethrin (23.1, 8.46), lambda cyhalothrin (80.7, 11.4), dichlorvos (252.8, 3.75), malathion (238.4, 6.59), amitraz (6741, 9430) and fenvalerate (greater than 10,000, 60.2). After 48 h exposure there were only slight increases in mortalities of both species except for increased mortalities for the northern fowl mite with lambda cyhalothrin, amitraz and fenvalerate, and for the chicken mite with amitraz.

IMPLICATIONS: Demonstrates which chemicals are effective miticides. The first number reflects NFM mortality, the second is D. Gallinae). Fenvalerate is a fairly effective miticide, but it is no longer available. It has been replaced with Esfenvalerate. Keep in mind that miticides have to directly contact mites to be effective; there is very little vapor effect that will produce good results. Most OTC bug sprays are of such low concentrations of active ingredients as to not be effective. However, a PCO would have access to stronger chemical solutions. Some OTC bug sprays will state that they will kill for three months or so. That may be for roaches and ants, but it is not applicable to mites.

TITLE:Acaricide resistance in northern fowl mite (Ornithonyssus sylviarum) populations on caged layer operations in Southern California

JOURNAL/DATE: Poult Sci. 2004 Mar;83(3):365-74.

AUTHOR(S): Mullens BA, Velten RK, Hinkle NC, Kuney DR, Szijj CE., Department of Entomology, University of California Cooperative Extension

ABSTRACT/SUMMARY: Southern California caged layer operations were visited over 3 yr. Northern fowl mites from 26 field populations were tested for acaricide resistance using a capillary pipette and glass dish bioassay. One was a susceptible field population with no pesticide exposure for over 30 yr (reference site for resistance ratio calculation). Technical and commercial formulations of malathion, carbaryl (Sevin), permethrin, and a commercial formulation of tetrachlorvinphos/dichlorvos (Ravap) were tested. Malathion did not have high activity for mites relative to other materials, but resistance to both technical and commercial formulations was low (< 5x). Resistance to other materials was moderate to extreme. Frequency of carbaryl resistance (> 10x) was higher with the commercial (88%) than the technical material (41%); 19% of the populations had resistance > 100x to commercial carbaryl. Frequency of Ravap resistance (> 10x) was 68%; 8% of populations had resistance > 100x. Frequency of permethrin resistance (> 10x) was 72% for the technical material and 88% for the commercial formulation. Extreme permethrin resistance (> 1,000x) was observed in 56 and 50% of mite populations assayed using the technical and commercial formulations, respectively. Among sites, resistance to permethrin was uncorrelated with resistance to other chemicals, suggesting a different resistance mechanism. Resistance to carbaryl and Ravap was highly correlated [r = 0.76 at the LC50 level (concentrations estimated to be lethal to 50% of the test population) and r = 0.99 at the LC95 level], suggesting a common resistance mechanism. Producers currently depend completely on pesticides to control mite infestations. Mite resistance to registered materials emphasizes the need for integrated control measures.

IMPLICATIONS: Research that further demonstrates how ineffective the pyrethrin and permethrin based chemicals are against bird mites. It is important that the PCO be aware of these facts before treating the home.

TITLE: Collembola (Springtails) (Arthropoda: Hexapoda: Entognatha) Found In Scrapings From Individuals Diagnosed With Delusory Parasitosis

JOURNAL/DATE: J. New York Entomol. Soc. 112(1):87â??95, 2004

AUTHOR(S): Michael Crutcher, MD, et al

ABSTRACT/SUMMARY: Twenty individuals diagnosed with delusory parasitosis participated in a single site clinical study under the auspices of the National Pediculosis Association (NPA) and the Oklahoma State Department of Health. The objective of this study was to determine if there were any common factors in skin scrapings collected from this population. These individuals, whose symptoms were originally attributed to lice or scabies, were part of a larger group reporting symptoms of stinging/biting and/or crawling to the NPA. Multiple skin scrapings from each person were microscopically examined. Any and all fields of view that appeared incongruous to normal human skin were digitally photographed. When the photographic images were initially evaluated, no common factor was identified. However, more extensive scrutiny using imaging software revealed evidence of Collembola in 18 of the 20 participants.

IMPLICATIONS: Research which confirmed that parasitosis was not delusional in a group of people that had been labeled as DOP; but this could only be verified by specialists who knew what to look for. No one in the non-symptom group had any of the parasites, but 18 of 20 in the symptom group did indeed have the skin parasites.

TITLE: The poultry red mite, Dermanyssus gallinae, a potential vector of Erysipelothrix rhusiopathiae causing erysipelas in hens.

JOURNAL/DATE: Med Vet Entomol. 2003 Jun;17(2):232-4

AUTHOR(S): Chirico J,Eriksson H, Fossum O, Jansson D. Department of Parasitology (SWEPAR), National Veterinary Institute, SE-751 89 Uppsala, Sweden.

ABSTRACT: Erysipelas is a bacterial disease caused by Erysipelothrix rhusiopathiae, which may infect swine as well as several other species of mammals and birds, including domestic fowl. In poultry, erysipelas may cause sudden high mortality due to septicemia. This communication describes the first isolation of E. rhusiopathiae from the haematophagous poultry red mite, Dermanyssus gallinae DeGeer (Acari: Dermanyssidae), that was collected on three farms where hen erysipelas was diagnosed. The bacteria were isolated from the integument as well as from the interior of the mites. Serotypes 1a and 1b of E. rhusiopathiae found in the mites corresponded with those isolated from the diseased birds. These findings imply that D. gallinae is a potential vector of E. rhusiopathiae. The current lack of effective measures to control D. gallinae causes recurring mite problems in poultry facilities once afflicted by this parasite. Consequently, mites containing E. rhusiopathiae may act as reservoir hosts of this bacterium, allowing it to persist in the poultry house between flock cycles as a source of infection for the replacement pullets. The zoonotic potentials of both E. rhusiopathiae and D. gallinae should also be considered.

IMPLICATIONS: Documents bird mites as a vector of pathogens to host mammals. Also, this research states “The current lack of effective measures to control D. Gallinae causes recurring mite problems in poultry facilities once afflicted by this parasite”. Some farmers have had to resort to burning heavily infested coops as the mite population could not be curtailed. It is unfortunate that human hosts do not have this same option available!!!

TITLE: Diarrhea and acaroid mites: a clinical study.

JOURNAL/DATE: World J Gastroenterol. 2003 Jul;9(7):1621-4.

AUTHOR(S): Li CP, Cui YB, Wang J, Yang QG, Tian Y. Department of Etiology and Immunology, School of Medicine, Anhui University of Science Technology, Huainan 232001, Anhui Province, China.

ABSTRACT/SUMMARY: To explore the characteristics of diarrhea caused by acaroid mites. METHODS: Acaroid mites in fresh stools of 241 patients with diarrhea were separated by flotation in saturated saline. Meanwhile, skin prick test, total IgE and mite-specific IgE were detected in all patients. RESULTS: The total positive rate of mites in stool samples of the patients was 17.01 % (41/241), the positive rates of mites in male and female patients were 15.86 % (23/145) and 18.75 % (18/96), respectively, without significant difference (P>0.05). The percentage of skin prick test as “+++”, “++”, “+”, “+/-” and “-” was 9.13 % (22/241), 7.47 % (18/241), 5.81 % (14/241), 4.98 % (12/241) and 72.61 % (175/241), respectively. The serum levels of total IgE, mite-specific IgE in patients with and without mites in stool samples were (165.72+/-78.55) IU/ml, (132.44+/-26.80) IU/ml and (145.22+/-82.47) IU/ml, (67.35+/-45.28) IU/ml, respectively, with significant difference (P<0.01). The positive rate of mites in stool samples in staffs working in traditional Chinese medicine storehouses or rice storehouses (experimental group) was 26.74 % (23/86), which was significantly higher than that (11.61 %, 18/155) in people engaged in other professions (chi(2)=8.97, P<0.01). CONCLUSION: Acaroid mites cause diarrhea and increase serum levels of total IgE and mite-specific IgE of patients, and the prevalence of diarrhea caused by acaroid mites is associated with occupations rather than the gender of patients.

IMPLICATIONS: Further research documenting human acariasis from mites previously classified as ‘ectoparasites’ in the textbooks. It is important for clinical researchers to ‘think outside the box’ when it comes to the variability of mites in order to survive in a changing environment. People with acariasis will often show increased levels of mite-specific IgE and this can be used by the physician to verify the person’s claim of parasitosis and acariasis. (Other tests can include IgG levels for parasites.)

Helpful Resources:

"If someone would have told me a bird mite affliction could happen to a person, I would probably not have believed them. Except that it has happened to me and it is the worst torment a person can endure." T.

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