Journal Mobile Options
Table of Contents
Vol. 220, No. 1, 2010
Issue release date: January 2010
Dermatology 2010;220:82–92
(DOI:10.1159/000266039)

Ectoparasites from Feral Pigeons Affecting Humans

Haag-Wackernagel D. · Bircher A.J.
aDepartment of Biomedicine, Institute of Anatomy, University of Basel, and bAllergy Unit, Department of Dermatology, University Hospital Basel, Basel, Switzerland

Individual Users: Register with Karger Login Information

Please create your User ID & Password





Contact Information











I have read the Karger Terms and Conditions and agree.

To view the fulltext, please log in

To view the pdf, please log in

Abstract

Feral pigeons pose a considerable health risk to the human population. They are vectors of infectious diseases and source of antigens causing allergic diseases. Breeding and roosting sites of pigeons harbor parasites that may infest humans. In the present article, a concomitant parasitization of a young female with 3 different ectoparasites, the bedbug Cimex lectularius, the pigeon tick Argas reflexus and the red mite Dermanyssus gallinae, is reported. The parasites invaded the apartment from a balcony used as roost by feral pigeons and infested the patient continuously over a period of more than 2 months. To our knowledge this case presents the first record of a coincidental infestation of a single patient with several ectoparasite species deriving from feral pigeons. Additionally we report general symptoms in the patient probably caused by the high number of stings. Dermatologists should be aware of the possibility of an infestation with ectoparasites deriving from feral pigeons. In a review we give an overview on the most important ectoparasites transmitted from feral pigeons to humans and their importance for the dermatologist.



Copyright / Drug Dosage

Copyright: All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be translated into other languages, reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, microcopying, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher or, in the case of photocopying, direct payment of a specified fee to the Copyright Clearance Center.
Drug Dosage: The authors and the publisher have exerted every effort to ensure that drug selection and dosage set forth in this text are in accord with current recommendations and practice at the time of publication. However, in view of ongoing research, changes in goverment regulations, and the constant flow of information relating to drug therapy and drug reactions, the reader is urged to check the package insert for each drug for any changes in indications and dosage and for added warnings and precautions. This is particularly important when the recommended agent is a new and/or infrequently employed drug.
Disclaimer: The statements, opinions and data contained in this publication are solely those of the individual authors and contributors and not of the publishers and the editor(s). The appearance of advertisements or/and product references in the publication is not a warranty, endorsement, or approval of the products or services advertised or of their effectiveness, quality or safety. The publisher and the editor(s) disclaim responsibility for any injury to persons or property resulting from any ideas, methods, instructions or products referred to in the content or advertisements.

References

  1. Johnston RF, Janiga M: Feral Pigeons. Oxford, Oxford University Press, 1995.
  2. Vater G: Wie viele Tauben gibt es in mitteleuropäischen Städten? Prakt Schädlingsbekämpfer 1998;50:12–17.
  3. Haag-Wackernagel D: Street pigeons in Basel. Nature 1993;361:200.

    External Resources

  4. Haag-Wackernagel D: Regulation of the street pigeon in Basel. Wildlife Soc Bull 1995;23:256–260.
  5. Baldaccini NE, Mongini E, Ragionieri L: Die Tauben in Bozen: Kontrollmethode und Bevölkerungsdynamik. 3. Internationale Tagung Infektionskrankheiten in den Alpenländern, Seis am Schlern, 1994, pp 49–50.
  6. Kösters J, Kaleta E, Monreal G, Siegmann O: Das Problem der Stadttauben. Dtsch Tierärztebl 1991;4:272–276.
  7. Bassi M, Chiatante D: The role of pigeon excrement in stone biodeterioration. Int Biodeterioration Bull 1976;12:73–79.
  8. Mendez-Tovar LJ, Mainou LM, Pizarro SA, Fortoul-Vandergoes T, Lopez-Martinez R: Fungal biodeterioration of colonial facades in Mexico City. Rev Mex Micol 1995;11:133–144.
  9. Zucconi S, Galavotti S, Deserti R: I colombi in ambiente urbano. Sintesi del progetto di ricerca Nomisma. Ig Alim Disinfest Ig Ambient nov/dic 2003, pp 9–22.
  10. Pimentel D, Zuniga R, Morrison D: Update on the environmental and economic costs associated with alien-invasive species in the United States. Ecol Econ 2005;52:273–288.

    External Resources

  11. Haag-Wackernagel D, Moch H: Health hazards posed by feral pigeons. J Infect 2004;48:307–313.
  12. Haag-Wackernagel D: Human diseases caused by feral pigeons. Adv Verteb Pest Manag 2006;4:31–58.
  13. Gatti M, Di Silverio A, Cespa M, Mosca M: Primary unusual cutaneous cryptococcosis in an HIV former drug abuser patient. Mycosis 1997;40:101–102.
  14. Calvert JE, Baldwin CI, Allen A, Todd A, Bourke SJ: Pigeon fanciers’ lung: a complex disease? Clin Exp Allergy 1999;29:166–175.
  15. du Marchie Sarvaas GJ, Merkus PJ, de Jongste JC: A family with extrinsic allergic alveolitis caused by wild city pigeons: a case report. Pediatrics 2000;105:E62.
  16. Bahna SL: A custodian cured the doctor! Pediatrics 2000;105:E71.
  17. Curtis L, Lee BS, Cai D, Morozova I, Fan JL, Scheff P, Persky V, Einoder C, Diblee S: Pigeon allergens in indoor environments: a preliminary study. Allergy 2002;57:627–631.
  18. Haag-Wackernagel D: Gesundheitsgefährdungen durch die Strassentaube Columba livia: Parasiten. Amtstierärztl Dienst Lebensmittelkont 2008;3:174–188.
  19. Flynn RJ: Parasites of Laboratory Animals. Ames, Iowa State University Press, 1973.
  20. Weidner H, Sellenschlo U: Vorratsschädlinge und Hausungeziefer. Heidelberg, Spektrum Akademischer Verlag, 2003, p 251S.
  21. Usinger RL: Monograph of Cimicidae. The Thomas Say Foundation, Entomological Society of America, Baltimore, 1966, Vol. VII.
  22. Goddard J, de Shazo R: Bedbugs (Cimex lectularius) and clinical consequences of their bites. JAMA 2009;301:1358–1366.
  23. Stutt AD, Siva-Jothy MT: Traumatic insemination and sexual conflict in the bedbug Cimex lectularius. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 2001;98:5683–5687.
  24. Thomas I, Kihiczak GG, Schwartz RA: Bedbug bites: a review. Int J Dermatol 2004;43:430–433.
  25. Stucki A, Ludwig R: Images in clinical medicine: bedbug bites. N Engl J Med 2008;359:1047.
  26. Reinhardt K, Kempke D, Naylor RA, Siva-Jothy MT: Sensitivity to bites by the bedbug, Cimex lectularius. Med Vet Entomol 2009;23:163–166.
  27. Liebold K, Schliemann-Willers S, Wollina U: Disseminated bullous eruption with systemic reaction caused by Cimex lectularius. J Eur Acad Dermatol Venereol 2003;17:461–463.
  28. Frickhinger H: Die Gefahr der wilden Tauben. Anz Schädlingskd 1937;13:66.
  29. Peus F: Die Flöhe. Hygienische Zoologie. Leipzig, Verlag Dr. P. Schöps, 1938, vol 5.
  30. Krall S: Oekofaunistische Untersuchungen der Insekten in Nestern der Stadttaube (Columba livia domestica L.) unter besonderer Berücksichtigung schädlicher und lästiger Arten. Entomol Mitt Zool Mus Hamburg 1981;7:29–44.
  31. Vogel K, Lüthgen W, Müller H, Schrag L, Vogel M: Taubenkrankheiten. Berlin, VEB Deutscher Landwirtschaftsverlag, 1983, p 460S.
  32. Vogel K: Taubenkrankheiten. Berlin, VEB Deutscher Landwirtschaftsverlag, 1965.
  33. Wolff K: Vogelflöhe als fakultative Ektoparasiten des Menschen. Schweiz Rundsch Med 1975;64:1173–1175.
  34. Beck W, Clark HH: Differentialdiagnose medizinisch relevanter Flohspezies und ihre Bedeutung in der Dermatologie. Hautarzt 1997;48:714–719.
  35. Stibich AS, Carbonaro PA, Schwartz RA: Insect bite reactions: an update. Dermatology 2001;202:193–197.
  36. Haag-Wackernagel D, Spiewak R: Human infestation by pigeon fleas (Ceratophyllus columbae) from feral pigeons. Ann Agric Environ Med 2004;11:1–4.

    External Resources

  37. Kirkwood A: Longevity of the mites Dermanyssus gallinae and Liponyssussylviarum. Exp Parasitol 1963;14:358–366.
  38. Beck W: Landwirtschaftliche Nutztiere als Vektoren von parasitären Epizoonoseerregern und zoophilen Dermatophyten. Hautarzt 1999;50:621–628.
  39. Schweizer J: Die Landmilben der Schweiz, Parasitiformes. Denkschr Schweiz Naturforsch Ges 1961;84:155–156.
  40. Baselga E, Drolet BA, Esterly NB: Avian mite dermatitis. Pediatrics 1996;97:743–745.
  41. Haag D: Brütende Strassentauben als Ursache einer Invasion von Dermanyssus gallinae (De Geer, 1778). Prakt Schädlingsbekämpfer 1988;8:180.
  42. Auger P, Nantel J, Meunier N, Harrsion RJ, Loiselle R, Gyorkos TW: Skin acariasis caused by Dermanyssus gallinae (de Geer): an in-hospital outbreak. Can Med Assoc J 1979;120:700–703.
  43. Przybilla B, Ryckmanns F, Postner M, Klovekorn W: Epizootic disease caused by the mite Dermanyssus gallinae (De Geer 1778). Hautarzt 1983;34:335–338.
  44. Winkler A: Endemie durch Vogelmilben (Dermanyssus gallinae) in einem Krankenhaus. Dermatol Wochenschr 1967;16:458–459.
  45. Cafiero MA, Circella E, Santagada G, Parisi A, Lomuto M, Camarda A: Infestatione da Dermanyssus gallinae nell’uomo. Un problema di igiene urbana. Obiett Doc Vet 2007;6:41–45.
  46. Schrafl A: Taubenkrätze. Schweiz Med Wochenschr 1930;38:900.
  47. Döhring E: Zur Lebensweise und Bekämpfung von Vogelmilben und einigen anderen Ektoparasiten in Geflügelställen. Prakt Schädlingsbekämpfer 1970;2:13–20.
  48. Orton DI, Warren LJ, Wilkinson JD: Avian mite dermatitis. Clin Exp Dermatol 2000;25:129–131.
  49. Haag-Wackernagel D: Behavioural responses of the feral pigeon (Columbidae) to deterring systems. Folia Zool 2000;49:25–39.
  50. Haag-Wackernagel D, Geigenfeind I: Protecting buildings against feral pigeons. Eur J Wildlife Res 2008;54:715–721.

    External Resources

  51. Beck W, Pantchev N: Praktische Parasitologie bei Heimtieren. Kleinsäuger – Vögel – Reptilien – Bienen. Hannover, Schlütersche Verlagsgesellschaft, 2006, p 318S.
  52. Vargo JA, Ginsberg MM, Mizrahi M: Human infestation by the pigeon mite: a case report. Am J Infect Control 1983;11:24–25.
  53. Dautel H, Scheurer S, Kahl O: The pigeon tick (Argas reflexus): its biology, ecology, and epidemiological aspects. Zentralbl Bakteriol 1999;289:745–753.
  54. Scheurer S, Dautel H: Verbreitung und Bekämpfung von Argas reflexus (Fabr) (Acarai, Argasidae) in Berlin. Mitt Dtsch Ges Allg Angew Entomol 1994;9:171–174.
  55. Dautel H, Kahl O, Knülle W: The soft tick Argas reflexus in urban environments and its medical significance in Berlin (West). J Appl Entomol 1991;111:380–390.
  56. Lüthgen W: Taubenkrankheiten. Reutlingen, Oertel & Spörer Verlags-GmbH, 2006.
  57. Kemper H, Reichmuth W: Die Taubenzecke als Parasit des Menschen. Z Angew Entomol 1941;28:507–518.
  58. Mayer E: Parasitologische Untersuchungen an Taubenbeständen in Berlin; Inauguraldissertation, Institut für Parasitologie der Veterinär-Medizinischen Fakultät der Freien Universität Berlin, 1954, vol 118, pp 1–33.
  59. Bircher AJ: Systemic immediate allergic reactions to arthropod stings and bites. Dermatology 2005;210:119–127.
  60. Hilger C, Bessot JC, Hutt N, Grigioni F, De Blay F, Pauli G, Hentges F: IgE-mediated anaphylaxis caused by bites of the pigeon tick Argas reflexus: cloning and expression of the major allergen Arg r 1. J Allergy Clin Immunol 2005;115:617–622.
  61. Buczek A, Solarz K: Attacks on people by Argas reflexus (Ixodida, Argasidae) – harmful parasites for humans and animals. Polski Tygodnik Lekarski 1993;48:238–239.
  62. Coudert J, Battesti MR, Despeignes J: Un cas d’allergie aux piqûres d’Argas reflexus. Bull Soc Pathol Exot 1972;65:884–889.
  63. Tosti A, Peluso AM, Spedicato S: Urticaria – angioedema syndrome caused by an Argas reflexus sting. Contact Dermatitis 1988;19:315–316.
  64. Spiewak R, Lundberg M, Johansson G, Buczek A: Allergy to pigeon tick (Argasreflexus) in Upper Silesia, Poland. Ann Agric Environ Med 2006;13:107–112.
  65. Bessot JC, Kopferschmitt MC, de Blay F, Dietemann A, Nirrengarten A, Hutt N, Le Coz C, Bouzouba A, Sainte Laudy J, Pauli G: Choc anaphylactique après morsure de tiques de pigeon (Argas reflexus): à propos de douze cas. Rev Fr Allergol Immunol Clin 1997;37:431–437.
  66. Kleine-Tebbe J, Heinatz A, Gräser I, Dautel H, Nordskov I, Hansen G, Kespohl S, Rihs HP, Raulf-Heimsoth M, Vater G, Rytter M, Haustein UF: Bites of the European pigeon tick (Argas reflexus): risk of IgE-mediated allergic sensitizations and severe analphylactic reactions. J Allergy Clin Immunol 2006;117:190–195.
  67. Veraldi S, Barbareschi M, Zerboni R, Scarabelli G: Skin manifestations caused by pigeon ticks (Argas reflexus). Cutis 1998;61:38–40.
  68. Genchi C, Falagiani P: Allergische Reaktionen nach Argasiden-Biss: eine zunehmende Gefahr für die Volksgesundheit. Proc Infectious Diseases in Alpine Areas, Castelrotto-Siusi, 1991, pp 37–38.
  69. Grzywinski L: Omwazja Argas reflexus u Ludzi. Wiadomosci parazytologiczne 1970;XVI:457–461.
  70. Sirianni MC, Mattiacci G, Barbone B, Mari A, Aiuti F, Kleine-Tebbe J: Anaphylaxis after Argas reflexus bite. Allergy 2000;55:303.
  71. Quercia O, Emiliani F, Foschi FG, Stefanini GF: Anaphylactic shock to Argasreflexus bite. Eur Ann Allergy Clin Immunol 2005;37:66–68.
  72. Spiewak R, Szostak W, Kubicka K, Ciura D, Lundberg M, Hohansson SGO, Buczek A: An ‘endemic’ allergy to pigeon ticks (Argas reflexus) after removal of dovecotes. 23rd EAACI Congress, Amsterdam, 2004, Allergy Forum 5: In vitro diagnosis in allergy: laboratory tests between facts and fiction, p 157.
  73. Herrmann J: Taubenzeckenbekämpfung. Umweltmedizinischer Informationsdienst 2000;3:21–24 (http://umweltbundesamt.de).
  74. Cafiero MA, Camarda A, Circella E, Galante D, Lomuto M: An urban outbreak of red mite dermatitis in Italy. Int J Dermatol 2009;48:1119–1121.
  75. Haag-Wackernagel D: Parasites from feral pigeons as a health hazard for humans. Ann Appl Biol 2005;147:203–210.

    External Resources

  76. Williams RW: An infestation of a human habitation by Dermanyssus gallinae (De Geer, 1778) (Acarina: Dermanyssidae) in New York City resulting in sanguisugent attacks upon the occupants. Am J Trop Med Hyg 1958;7:627–629.
  77. Miadonna A, Tedeschi A, Leggieri E, Falagiani P, Nazzari M, Manzoni M, Zanussi C: Anaphylactic shock caused by allergy to the venom of Argas reflexus. Ann Allergy 1982;49:293–294.
  78. Vater A, Vater G: Zecken kontra Wohnbedarf – Sanierung kontra Zecken. Leipziger Bauführer, Stadtlandschaften und gesundes Wohnen, 1995, pp 72–75.


Pay-per-View Options
Direct payment This item at the regular price: USD 38.00
Payment from account With a Karger Pay-per-View account (down payment USD 150) you profit from a special rate for this and other single items.
This item at the discounted price: USD 26.50