[Skip to Navigation]
November 1952

DELUSION OF PARASITOSIS (ACAROPHOBIA): Further Observations in Clinical Practice

Author Affiliations


From the Department of Dermatology, University of Southern California School of Medicine and the Los Angeles County General Hospital.

AMA Arch Derm Syphilol. 1952;66(5):577-585. doi:10.1001/archderm.1952.01530300033004

IN THE year 1946 a discussion of the delusion of parasitosis was presented in the dermatologic literature1 under joint authorship with the late Dr. Hiram E. Miller, in which it was pointed out that patients who unalterably but falsely believe that the skin is infested with parasites are suffering from a severe mental illness only rarely correctable by the dermatologist and occasionally by the psychiatrist. The designation "acarophobia," under which the syndrome was previously classed, was deemed inappropriate because such patients rarely selected the organism of scabies as the infesting parasite and seldom exhibited any of the fear, dread, or hysteria usually associated with the other phobias. Only 45 cases could be found recorded in the literature, whereas the disorder occurs much more frequently than that figure would indicate. Six cases which had come under our own observation were presented and discussed.

In reviewing and tabulating the

Add or change institution