By Gary M. White, MD
Multiple itchy bites present for 4 days on the lower left abdomen of a woman.
The bite of bird mites can cause itchy red bumps, commonly in the axilla and groin.
- Bird mites can bite the skin causing intense itching.
- They cannot jump or fly but are visible to the naked eye once they have taken a blood meal.
- They cannot survive on the human body (or any other mammal) so they do not establish a true infestation.
Look for nesting birds anywhere near the house, e.g., window ledge, rafters.
Nesting birds, dead birds, pet birds, birds in chimneys or attics, and birds around air conditioning units are potential sources.
- Up to 50,000 mites can be found in a nest.
One patient of mine experienced the acute onset of fifty to seventy 3-4 mm juicy red papules distributed symmetrically in the axilla and inner thighs. A bird's nest had been discovered in the eves the day before. A 1 mm black insect was brought in. Biopsy confirmed bites. Removing the nest, vacuuming the house, and a prednisone taper solved the problem.
Remove any old nests or dead birds. Topical, and in severe cases oral, steroids are in order.
Multiple itchy bites in the axilla and groin of another patient.
A close up of grouped bites on the flank.
Indian J Dermatol 2015;60:312-3
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