DELUSORY parasitosis is a presumed psychiatric
condition ascribed to individuals who are convinced, in the absence of any
empirical evidence, that they are infected with an insect or parasite. The
symptoms are debilitating and the sufferer’s distress is compounded by the
lack of a concrete physical diagnosis. It turns out, however, that
patients may actually be right in their assessment of what is troubling
A case control study conducted by the National Pediculosis Association and
the Oklahoma Department of Health found that the arthropod Collembola
or springtails were a common factor in patients originally diagnosed with
delusory parasitosis (J New York Entomol Soc 112:87, 2004). The research
team did stress that it was possible the springtails found in skin lesions
were opportunistic and that fungi or allergens may contribute or be
responsible for the patients’ symptoms.
Springtails are abundant in wastewater and contaminated environments with
high humidity and abundant organic debris.