Dermanysuss gallinae attacks humans. Mind the gap!

Maria Assunta Cafiero, Alessandra Barlaam, Antonio Camarda, Miroslav Radeski, Monique Mul, Olivier Sparagano, Annunziata Giangaspero*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


Dermanyssus gallinae is a haematophagous ectoparasite primarily known as a pest of domestic and wild birds. It occasionally feeds on a range of mammals, and, more importantly, is of growing concern in human medicine. This review highlights mite attacks on people working with poultry, and updates the increasing incidence of dermanyssosis in urban environments in Europe. Although several cases of dermanyssosis have been documented, there are a number of reasons why diagnosis of D. gallinae infestations in humans is likely to be underestimated. Firstly, medical specialists are not well aware of D. gallinae infestations in humans. There is also a lack of collaboration with specialists from other disciplines. The problem is compounded by misdiagnoses and by the lack of diagnostic tools. We review the literature on human dermanyssosis cases in Europe, and also provide information on the epidemiology, clinical, histo-pathological and immunological aspects of dermanyssosis. We stress the need for improved recognition of this challenging infestation in humans, and provide straightforward recommendations for health practitioners, starting with collection of the correct anamnestic information and including appropriate management methods for case recognition and resolution. Finally, we indicate the most urgent areas to be addressed by future research. RESEARCH HIGHLIGHTSDermanyssus gallinae is of growing concern in human medicine. Most physicians are not well aware of dermanyssosis in humans. Bio-epidemiological and clinical aspects of this ectoparasitosis are highlighted. Practical key actions for diagnosis and correct management of infestation in humans are provided.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)S22-S34
JournalAvian Pathology
Issue numbersup1
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2019


  • dermatitis
  • diagnosis
  • Europe
  • future needs
  • humans
  • management


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