The poultry red mite, Dermanyssus gallinae, De Geer 1778, is a blood-sucking mite of birds worldwide, including feral pigeons. The mite only visits its host for blood meals, having to do so repeatedly every 2-3 days. The rest of the time, it lives in crevices and cracks in roosting and nesting sites. When the avian host is not available, it can move to and bite humans, causing a non-specific dermatitis with intense itching. From 2001 to 2009, we observed 11 outbreaks of Red Mite Dermatitis (RMD) in city-dwellers in Southern Italy, where all cases were initially misdiagnosed and medical care failed to solve the dermatitis. Mites infested the patients in their dwellings/workplaces, and the source of the infestation was found in abandoned pigeons’ nests in close proximity to the habitations. Cutaneous reactions resulting from contact with D. gallinae are uncharacteristic, and usually remain unrecognized when they arise in atypical contexts such as urban areas. This has led to scarce information being available on this subject. However, feral pigeons are very abundant in cities worldwide, and are well-known source of zoonotic ectoparasites, including red mites. This poses a considerable risk of RMD in city-dwellers due to their contact with this nidicolous arthropod. Physicians and dermatologists should be made more aware of the occurrence of this urban epizoonosis. The management of this skin disorder requires correct identification of the mite and its eradication in the environment with removal of nests and appropriate disinfestation of infested areas.

Outbreaks of Red Mite (Dermanyssus gallinae) Dermatitis in City-dwellers: an emerging urban epizoonosis

CAMARDA, Antonio;CIRCELLA, ELENA;
2013

Abstract

The poultry red mite, Dermanyssus gallinae, De Geer 1778, is a blood-sucking mite of birds worldwide, including feral pigeons. The mite only visits its host for blood meals, having to do so repeatedly every 2-3 days. The rest of the time, it lives in crevices and cracks in roosting and nesting sites. When the avian host is not available, it can move to and bite humans, causing a non-specific dermatitis with intense itching. From 2001 to 2009, we observed 11 outbreaks of Red Mite Dermatitis (RMD) in city-dwellers in Southern Italy, where all cases were initially misdiagnosed and medical care failed to solve the dermatitis. Mites infested the patients in their dwellings/workplaces, and the source of the infestation was found in abandoned pigeons’ nests in close proximity to the habitations. Cutaneous reactions resulting from contact with D. gallinae are uncharacteristic, and usually remain unrecognized when they arise in atypical contexts such as urban areas. This has led to scarce information being available on this subject. However, feral pigeons are very abundant in cities worldwide, and are well-known source of zoonotic ectoparasites, including red mites. This poses a considerable risk of RMD in city-dwellers due to their contact with this nidicolous arthropod. Physicians and dermatologists should be made more aware of the occurrence of this urban epizoonosis. The management of this skin disorder requires correct identification of the mite and its eradication in the environment with removal of nests and appropriate disinfestation of infested areas.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11586/114566
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