Human infestation by pigeon fleas (Ceratophyllus columbae) from feral pigeons.

Radosław Spiewak 1, Daniel Haag-Wackernagel 2
1 -
2 - Institute of Anatomy, University of Basel, Pestalozzistrasse 20, CH-4056 Basel,Switzerland. daniel.haag@unibas.ch
Ann Agric Environ Med
2004; 11 (2):
ICID: 142645
 
 
The report concerns a married couple who were repeatedly invaded by pigeonfleas (Ceratophyllus columbae) over a period of 2 months. The source of the fleas was a pair of breedingferal pigeons (Columba livia). The birds' nest was located in the attic immediately above the couple'sapartment, and the fleas found their way along an unsealed heating pipe. The people encountered up to40 bites per night. With invasions repeated almost every night, the man gradually developed an allergicurticarial reaction. The most traumatic experience for the couple, however, was to learn that they wereinvaded by fleas (initially, they had presumed they were bothered by mosquitoes). This information resultedin severe psychological distress with phobic reactions and insomnia. Despite the successful removal ofthe fleas and the pigeons that were source of the pest, parasitophobia of the man persisted over thefollowing 4 months. This case is discussed from the broader aspect of health risks related to feral pigeonsand animal fleas. Also summarised are previous observations on people invaded by pigeon fleas.
PMID 15627347 - click here to show this article in PubMed
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