There are several complications with the terminology:
Acariasis is a term for a rash, caused by mites, sometimes with a papillae (pruritic dermatitis) or papule (papular urticaria), and usually accompanied by a hive (urticaria) and severe itching sensations. An example of such an infection is scabies or gamasoidosis.
The closely related term, mange, is commonly used with domestic animals (pets) and also livestock and wild mammals, whenever hair-loss is involved. Sarcoptes and Demodex species are involved in mange, but both of these genera are also involved in human skin diseases (by convention only, not called mange). Sarcoptes in humans is especially severe symptomatically, and causes the condition scabies noted above.
Another genus of mite which causing itching but rarely causes hair loss because it burrows only at the keratin level, is Cheyletiella. Various species of this genus of mite also affect a wide variety of mammals, including humans.
Mites can be associated with disease in at least three different ways: (1) cutaneous dermatitis, (2) production of allergin, and (3) as a vector for parasitic diseases. The language used to describe mite infestation often does not distinguish among these.
Most of the mites which cause this affliction to humans are from the order Acari, hence the name Acariasis. The entire taxonomic classification to order would be:
- Kingdom: Animalia
- Phylum: Arthropoda
- Subphylum: Chelicerata
- Class: Arachnida
- Order: Acari (At the order level, there is still substantial argument among researchers as to how to categorize Acari. Some call it a subclass, others a superorder, "Acarina".)
Specific species involved include:
- Dermanyssus gallinae, Ornithonyssus bursa, Ornithonyssus sylviarum (Gamasoidosis)
- Liponyssoides sanguineus, Laelaps echidnina, Ornithonyssus bacoti (Rodent mite dermatitis)
- Another candidate is Androlaelaps casalis. However, based on this mite's life style as a predator on other mite species (such as the previously-mentioned Dermanyssus gallinae), it is highly unlikely to be a cause of acariasis.
Some of these reflect reports existing of human infestation by mites previously believed not to prey on humans.
Medical doctors and dermatologists can still misdiagnose this rash as many are unfamiliar with parasitism, not trained in it, or if they do consider it, cannot see the mites.
Different methods for detection are recognized for different acariasis infections. Human acariasis with mites can occur in the gastrointestinal tract, lungs, urinary tracts and other organs which not have been well-studied. For intestinal acariasis with symptoms such as abdominal pain, diarrhea, and phohemefecia (is this hemafecia?), human acariasis is diagnosed by detection of mites in stools. For pulmonary acariasis, the presence of mites in sputum is determined by identifying the presence and number of mites in the sputum of patients with respiratory symptoms. Both physical and chemical methods for liquefaction of sputum have been developed.
- "Acariasis" at Dorland's Medical Dictionary
- Li, CP; Cui, YB; Wang, J; Yang, QG; Tian, Y (2003). "Acaroid mite, intestinal and urinary acariasis". World Journal of Gastroenterology. 9 (4): 874–7. PMID 12679953.
- Mite+infestations at the US National Library of Medicine Medical Subject Headings (MeSH)
- Lesna, Izabela; Wolfs, Peter; Faraji, Farid; Roy, Lise; Komdeur, Jan; Sabelis, Maurice W. (2009). "Candidate predators for biological control of the poultry red mite Dermanyssus gallinae". Experimental and Applied Acarology. 48 (1–2): 63–80. doi:10.1007/s10493-009-9239-1. PMID 19184469.
- "Research and Reference Articles"[unreliable source?]
- Cui, YB; Ling, YZ; Zhou, Y; Feng, ZW; Xing, YR; Zhang, SW (2006). "An effective indirect fluorescent antibody test for diagnosis of intestinal acariasis". The Southeast Asian Journal of Tropical Medicine and Public Health. 37 (3): 452–5. PMID 17120963.
- Martínez-Girón, Rafael; Woerden, Hugo Cornelis; Ribas-Barceló, Andrés (2007). "Experimental method for isolating and identifying dust mites from sputum in pulmonary acariasis". Experimental and Applied Acarology. 42 (1): 55–9. doi:10.1007/s10493-007-9076-z. PMID 17549588.