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February 27, 1967

"Delusions" of Parasitosis Caused by Carpet Beetles

Author Affiliations

Los Angeles

JAMA. 1967;199(9):675. doi:10.1001/jama.1967.03120090117036

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To the Editor:—  Dr. Kenneth M. Halprin is to be commended for his clear-cut description of the symptom complex familiar to dermatologists as delusions of parasitosis (198:1207, 1966).The classical picture is that of a harassed-looking patient on the verge of tears, usually a woman in her middle or later years, demanding more potent antiseptics to kill the parasites which she insists are infesting her skin, and presenting "specimens" which she has picked off her skin or her clothing. The skin is usually dry from vigorous scrubbing and applications of strong medication, and there are frequently crusted excoriations, gouges, and scars where the patient has attempted to dig out the hypothetical parasites.The dermatologist has been conditioned to one type of response to such a patient: reason and logic are useless, the quicker she is referred to a psychiatrist, the better, and microscopic examination of the "specimens" which she