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

Roger W. Williams School of Public Health and Administrative Medicine, Columbia University

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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.

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