Monday, March 27, 2006

Collembola Files

The National Pediculosis Association (NPA) is a non-profit organization formed in the mid 1980's, whose mandate is to disseminate awareness about issues involving headlice and scabies. They are referenced on these issues by school boards and health boards throughout North America. The NPA has won awards for it's work on the dangers of the use of the pesticide, Lindane, on humans.

In the 90's the NPA began to receive reports about a scabies-like, headlice-like malady that was seemingly impossible to cure. A registry was eventually initiated, and the similarity of the reports became apparent. Sufferers reported symtoms of crawling, stinging, biting, burning on the skin, and an intense itching, which usually resulted in ulcerated lesions which would remain indefinitely. Another commonality in these reports was that the sufferers had been diagnosed as DOP (delusions of parasitosis) by their Dermatologists (and or Psychiatrists) without ever having a skin scraping done, for observation under microscope. Skin scraping is a simple procedure, which can be done in the Dermatologists office in less than 5 minutes. Also it is FIRST in the Protocol according to Dermatological Associations of N. America. Yet the vast majority of registrees did not undergo scrapings.

After receiving no help from health authorities, including the CDC, the NPA, along with the Oklahoma State Dept. of Health, undertook a study, published in 2004, in which they found that 90% of a sample group of the sufferers, had infestations of a hexapod, collembola. So far the Medical and Entomological communities of N. America and Europe refuse to follow up on this emerging epidemic.

For more information on the NPA, go to:

The link below is just one of the responses to the NPA study and is included here because of it's extreme lack of professionalism, despite the many reports of collembola infestation from throughout Europe and North America over the past 100 + years.

"There are suggestions that two groups, Collembola and Strepsiptera are parasitic. However, these groups are not capable of parasitizing humans. Strepsiptera are exclusively parasites of insects. There is no evidence that they parasitize anything else. Collembola lack the structures necessary to enter human skin, either to feed or to lay eggs. The authors of the single publication proposing to have found Collembola in human skin (2004. New York Entomological Society) manipulated photographs in Adobe Photoshop to supposedly show the presence of Collembola and their eggs. The quality of the photographs and the quality of objects in the photographs was so poor that it is quite possible to see almost any kind of animal in them. The journal should be embarrassed for having published this work."

Unfortunately, the "experts" do not seem to be aware of the numerous reports and references from over the past century citing collembola infesting or parasitizing humans. UC Davis and the Bohart museum are the ones who should be embarrassed for their lack of due diligence:

February 18, 2008
Dasgupta, R. & Dasgupta, B. (1990:438) India: "We report that certain collembolan insects in our laboratory (Hypogastrura sp.) have exhibited a parasitic propensity, attacking newts (Tylototriton verucosus) and toads (Bufo himalayanus), causing running sores in the skin of these animals. Other Collembola (Seira indica), whose gut contents were examined, were engorged with blood from the newt. We believe that this is the first record of these insects feeding on blood."

February 14, 2008

Insect infections/infestations
Many insect species can infest/infect the skin 34,35. This can vary from a simple accidental
bite (eg from a thrips or collembolan34,36) to a more severe infection (eg from a fly
maggot, jigger flea or a louse infestation). Thrips and collembolans are free-living, plant
feeding insects which occasionally bite humans, become encapsulated in small nodules in
the skin or cause a pruritic rash.
New Jersey Scientist says: COLLEMBOLA (Habitus Odontellidae) Found in Homes with Fungal Mold identified on Human Skin in often Misdiagnosed as Afflicted with Delusory Parasitosis.

July 1955: The springtail Sira, a pesky human parasite, confirmed for the first Swedish Medical Journal 52 (29) pages 822+26time in Sweden.By entomologist Felix Bryk, Solna[Vay1]
"Until now, collembolans or “springtails” have played a miniscule role asparasitic insects on the human body from a entomological/medical standpoint.Rarely, if ever, are they mentioned in the scientific literature. However, theappearance of a previously unknown collembolan as an occasional parasite that foryears caused depression in a patient and continues to do so - so far a unique case -has now rightly gotten the attention of scientists."

Sira buski (Lubbock, 1870), by Freche and Beille 1896"Freche and Beille in the minutes of a meeting of the Academy of Sciences in Paris (1896, page 70). A well-groomed man in his seventies returning in August of 1891 from a journey to the island of d'Oloron sensed numerous parasites in his hair, after two weeks or so, which he assumed to be fleas. Treatment with a mercurial preparation proved to be beneficial. As winter came around, he had gotten rid of the parasites and believed this to be the end of it, but in the spring of 1892, they re-emerged and remained until November....This continued for several years, i.e., 1894, 1895 and 1896, regardless of the disinfection of the patient's body and all of his household goods. 'The parasites seem to become increasingly abundant.'...."

Frye, F. L. 1997. In search for the haphazardly elusive: a follow-up report on an investigation intothe possible role of Collembolans in human dermatitis. Veterinary Invertebrate Society Newsletter13: 12.

Casterline, D.G (1954 in press) cited from Hurd, P.D. (1954:814) Alaska: " ... and about 50 springtails (Collembola, Isotoma olivacea Tullberg. The medical aspects, as well as the specific identification of the insects involved, are to be reported by Donald G. Casterline, M.D. (Calif. Mo. Medicine, in press)." Cited from Altschuler, D.Z. & Casterline, D.G. (1997 in 1999:in litt.) Alaska: "While obtaining all of these papers I had the pleasure of speaking directly with the reporting physician Casterline -- who while retired remembered the event quite well. There was little beyond his excellent idea to x-ray the area of the sinuses where the discomfort was apparent and where on x-ray there was distinct shading. He then aspirated the area and left Hurd to do his own thing in the lab where he identified what you read in the report. No discussion to my knowledge or reported by Casterline of questions about immunity."

Hurd, P.D. (1954:814) Alaska: "During the past two summers I have served as research entomologist at the Arctic Research Laboratory, Point Barrow, Alaska." "Apparently because of the use of the aspirator, a most unique case of "myiasis" (or infestation) occured." "Approximately 2 mo. after the completion of the past summer's work at Point Barrow I became ill. During the week following the onset of illness four major groups of insects (Coleoptera, Collembola, Diptera, Hymenoptera) were passed alive from the left antrum of the sinus. These insects included ... and about 50 springtails (Collembola, Isotoma olivacea Tullberg. The medical aspects, as well as the specific identification of the insects involved, are to be reported by Donald G. Casterline, M.D. (Calif. Mo. Medicine, in press)." "It is believed that these protracted periods of dailly aspiration during the summer contributed to a case of "myiasis" that is without parallel in its origin and nature. Insofar as I have been able to ascertain none of the insects reported herein have been previously shown to cause "myiasis" in man." "Apparently the insects gained access to the sinus as eggs which passed trough the fine mesh brass screen.Admittedly, it is almost unbelievable that the insects should have undergone several stages in their metamorphosis within the sinuses, but since the screen was so fine as to preclude the possibility of the aspiration of adult insects, it must be concluded that such was the case." Cited from Hopkin, S.P. (1997:3):"Hurd (1954) accidently infected his nasal sinuses with eggsof a species of Isotoma during fieldwork and passed about 50live springtails from his nose some two months later. Pooters beware!"

Scott, H.G., Wiseman, J.S. & Stojanovich, C.J. (1962:430) Texas: "Springtail insects (Orchesella albosa Guthrie, 1903, forma ainslieri Folsom, 1924) were found infesting the heads and pubic areas of a family in Buffalo, Leon County, Texas, in June 1961. No dermatitis was reported due to this infestation, and the source of the insects was not determined. Based upon known habits of this species, some moldy household item (perhaps bedding) was probably involved. Orchesella albosa has never before been reported infesting man or houses. Its chewing mouthparts are probably not capable of biting man."

Amin, O.M. (1996:64) ?: "The closest published references to the presented case1, 2 reported springtails (Insecta: Collembola) causing pruritic dermatitis in humans; collembolans are generally regarded as saprophagous and phytophagous insects. 1. Hunter GW, Frye WW, Schwartzwelder JC, 1960. A Manual of Tropical Medicine. Philadelphia: W.B. Saunders. 2. Scott HG, Wiseman JS, Stojanovich CJ. 1962. Collembola infesting man. Ann. Entomol. Soc. Am: 528-530."

Amin, O.M. (2001) Arizona: "Scalp lesions also occur in patients with neurological symptoms and are usually associated with arthropod infestation. JH (a tall, healthy, well-nourished, middle aged white American female from Arizona) had a number of such lesions [(Fig. 4)] from which springtails (Collembola: Insecta: Arthropoda) [(Fig. 5)] were collected by myself in December, 1995. There is only two other published reports of springtails from humans (Hunter et al., 1960; Scott et al., 1962)."

Hunter, G.W., Frye, W.W. & Schwartzwelder, J.C. (1960) cited from Scott, H.G., Wiseman, J.S. & Stojanovich, C.J. (1962:430) Nearctic: "Entomobrya nivalis (cosmopolitan) and Entomobrya tenuicauda (Australasian) have been reported as causing a pruritic dermatitis in man."

Mackie, T.T., Hunter, G.W. & Brooke Worth, C. (1945:541-542) Australia: "The Collembola are primarily phytophagous and are not usually thought of as medically important insects. Two Australian species, however, Entomobrya multifasciata Tullb. and E. tenuicauda Schött have recently been recorded as attacking man, the patients complaining of a sharp, biting sensation followed by irritation and papules similar to mosquito bites, with pruritus." Cited from Scott, H.G., Wiseman, J.S. & Stojanovich, C.J. (1962:430): "Entomobrya nivalis (cosmopolitan) and Entomobrya tenuicauda (Australasian) have been reported as causing a pruritic dermatitis in man." Cited from Ebeling, W. (1975): "They [Collembola] have never been incriminated in the transmission of any human disease, but Entomobrya nivalis L., a cosmopolitan species, has been reported to cause an itching type of dermatitis in man, ..."

Martini, M. (1952:354) cited from Bryk, F. (1955:1824) ?: "Very discomforting mosquito-like skin irritations attributable to collembolans of the genus Entomobrya attempting to bite. "

Mertens, J. in Christiansen, K. (1998 in 2001:in litt.) Belgium: " Several years ago our Faculty of Medicine once offered me 'strange small insects', which were considered as being responsible for causing allergic reactions on the skin of a woman. Those insects were Seira domestica. I could prove that the scales of Seira on the cushioned seats caused the allergy. As you know, Lepidocyrtus, has scales too. " Mertens, J. (2004:in litt.) Belgium: "In 1976 (or 1977), our Faculty of Medicine was puzzled by a rare case of skin allergy in a woman, living near Ghent. The allergy was caused by the scales of Seira domestica on a cushion of a rotan chair. Whenever the woman used the rotan chair, the allergic skin response occured (and only then). The chair was located in the veranda, which was quite moisty and where the temperature was enjoyable. It turned out that the hollow rotan branches of the chair hosted a population of Seira domestica. During the night, they left their hiding place and crawled all over the chair. The cushion collected many of the lost scales, causing as such the allergic reaction. "

Pescott, R.T.M. (1942:68-69) Australia:In 1939, specimens of springtails were received from a Melbourne specialist who stated that they were causing skin troubles on a female patient. The insect in question was the species Entomobrya multifasciata Tull....... The symptoms of this case were as follows : the patient experienced a sharp biting sensation, followed by intolerable itching. There were few marks on the body with an occasional excoriated papule, while the irritation was distributed fairly generally over the trunk and limbs, but was most marked around the waist. Several specimens of the insect responsible for the condition were found on the patient's body..... "In 1941, specimens of another springtail were received from a military hospital in Victoria, where skin irritations were occuring among the nursing staff. The species concerned was Entomobrya tenuicauda Schott., a native insect originally described in 1917 from Queensland, later recorded by Womersley (3) from Western Australia and Tasmania, and now from Victoria. In this instance, the presence of the insect produced on several nurses raised lumps very similar to mosquito bites, and which later were very irritable. In one instance there was also a good deal of reddening of the calf of the leg. These conditions lasted for somewhat less than twenty-four hours in each case, but reoccurred the next day, probably from more 'bites'. On analysing this case, it appears certain that the insects were introduced into the hospital with flowers, and from there moved on the affected nurses during their normal routine duties." "3. Womersley, H. : Primitive Insects of South Australia, Gov. Printer, Adelaide, 1939." Womersley suggested that the easily detached, long ciliated hairs of Entomobrya species undoubtedly would cause skin irritations.

Scott, H.G. (1966) cited from Ebeling, W. (1975) : "Springtails crawling or hopping on the skin may cause itching, and when crushed on the skin, they may cause a mild, localized, allergic response. (Scott et al., 1962; Scott, 1966c)."

Terinte, C., Dulceanu, N.I., Terinte, R. & Dobrescu, G. (1998?) Roumania: "A 80-years-old woman presented with pruritus, insomnia, anxiety, paleness, weight loss (7 Kg in 6 months), and loss of appetite. In the lumbar region, on the buttocks, on the right posterior hemithorax and interdigitally on both feets she had small ulcers of 0.5-1 cm in diameter, surrounded by an indurated congestive or cyanotic, ovoid area of 1 x 1.5 cm. Small scars, with furfuraceous, dry and gray exfoliation on round and linear zones of 20-25 x 4-5 cm., were observed in the submammalian region. Linear short subepidermic truncated trajects were also observed. The microscopic examination of the hypodermic material obtained by scraping, revealed an adult Collembola spp. insect, eggs, cocoons of different colours..."

And those are just some of the ones published in english. It's amazing that all of these scientists are making the exact same mistakes by identifying collembola in the above cases.Obviously, the "experts" over at uc davis and the bohart museum need to take a refresher course on research.


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