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November 1959

The Transmission of Parasites Via Air Conditioners

Author Affiliations


From the Departments of Dermatology of Wayne State University and Receiving Hospital of the City of Detroit (Dr. Hermann Pinkus, Acting Chairman).

AMA Arch Derm. 1959;80(5):587. doi:10.1001/archderm.1959.01560230073017

In substantiating a recent report by Gross,1 I wish to comment on a similar incident which occurred last fall.

The librarian in the doctors' library at a local hospital was subjected to bites whenever she sat at her desk which was placed about six feet from a window. Frequenters of the library were also noted to scratch when spending some time in the room. The recognition of parasites as cause of the bites and pruritus became simple when numerous tiny gray-black moving particles were seen on books, tables, shelves, clothing, etc., on a warm day when the window air conditioner was in operation constantly. On top of the outside portion of the air conditioner a pigeon nest containing the parasites was found. Hence, presumptive evidence was present to implicate Dermanyssus gallinae, the chicken mite, as the cause of the dermatitis, with pigeons acting as vectors.2