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October 26, 1963

Psychiatric and Entomological Aspects of Delusory Parasitosis: Entomophobia, Acarophobia, Dermatophobia

Author Affiliations
Los Angeles
Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychiatry, University of Southern California School of Medicine, and Mental Health Consultant (Dr. Schrut), and Consulting Public Health Entomologist (Mr. Waldron), Los Angeles County Health Department.
JAMA. 1963;186(4):429-430. doi:10.1001/jama.1963.63710040008018b

PROBLEMS involving arthropods and emotionallydisturbed persons have long been known to the medical and entomological professions. The purpose of this paper is to discuss a phase of this medico-entomological problem which often is puzzling and exasperating. It is hoped that the reader will be better able to understand and tolerate the complaints which are often misunderstood and thereby direct the patient to proper medical care.

Wilson and Miller,1 and Obermayer,2 have applied the term "delusions of parasitosis" to those patients who have an unshakeable belief that live organisms, such as mites or insects, are present in the skin. This aberration often results in a severe pruritic condition, which, through scratching, may cause extensive excoriation and scarring.

The first awareness of a problem may arise when the patient confronts the entomologist with material that allegedly contains insect specimens which were scraped or plucked off the skin, clothing, furniture, cosmetics,