E. batatas (Linnaeus) is reported attacking man in the San Joaquin Valley of California. This is a tropical mite whose reported distribution in the United States has previously been limited to the extreme southeastern portion of the country. Although human chigger infestations had not been verified prior to this investigation, the mites are now known to occur in two counties in the southern half of the San Joaquin Valley. Based on evidence at hand, it is believed that the distribution of chiggers infesting man in California is much more general than is now known
The vector relationship, if any, of E. batatas to disease has not been ascertain to date. It is, however, a very annoying pest and for the reason alone has a definite public health significance.
Control is somewhat complicated by the fact that it is reported to have a very wide host range.