Journal Article

Tropical Rat Mite Dermatitis: Case Report and Review

Peter M. Engel, J. Welzel, M. Maass, U. Schramm and H. H. Wolff

in Clinical Infectious Diseases

Published on behalf of Infectious Diseases Society of America

Volume 27, issue 6, pages 1465-1469
Published in print December 1998 | ISSN: 1058-4838
Published online December 1998 | e-ISSN: 1537-6591 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1086/515016
Tropical Rat Mite Dermatitis: Case Report and Review

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Six medical students inhabiting a centuries-old, rat-infested house in Lübeck, in northern Germany, were suffering from itching papules and seropapules. Prior to these patients' visit to our institute, their conditions had been diagnosed as pediculosis, scabies, or pulicosis and treated unsuccessfully with the antiparasitic agent lindane (0.3%). The final diagnosis, tropical rat mite dermatitis, was based on the identification of the arthropod Ornithonyssus bacoti, which has an unsegmented body with eight legs. No treatment was recommended, and the dermatitis disappeared within 2 weeks. Measures taken to prevent reinfestation included extermination of the rats and treatment of the rooms of the house with the acaricide benzyl benzoate. Because the mite O. bacoti spends a relatively short time on a host and penetrates the skin for feeding only, the application of an antiparasitic agent is not necessary. If indicated, treatment should be symptomatic.

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Subjects: Infectious Diseases ; Immunology ; Public Health and Epidemiology ; Microbiology

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