Bird Mites and Human Infestation….

News articles today (here and video here) about a Long Island woman, infested with bird mites, who was taken from her home in a HazMat suit and put in quarantine isolation gave me quite a jolt. The woman was most likely infested by mites from an abandoned bird nest in her bathroom vent.

While I don’t have any of the horrific symptoms of this type of bird mite infestation I live in close proximity to birds and regularly feed them. Birds, mainly sparrows and starlings, nest in the eaves, gutters and crannies of my house and I have several feeders on my porch. Doctors are quoted in the stories saying that, although the bird mites can cause extreme discomfort to humans they don’t feed on humans, only attacking them when their bird host dies or leaves the nest.

Several websites (here and here) dealing with these pests strongly disagree with that assessment saying there are numerous instances of people driven to the brink of suicide by total household and personal infestation depriving them of sleep, causing constant torment. One man bought a parakeet in the hope that the mites would attack the bird and leave him alone. They got the poor bird alright, attacking it so hard that it had to be put down, but the pests remained in the home. Below is a photograph of a Northern fowl mite, one of several type of bird mites.

The Long Island woman, Nina Bradica, gave this account of her ordeal:

“My whole shower was covered with them,” said Bradica, 45. “I didn’t even know they were there at first, I was drying myself with my towel in the bathroom. That’s how they got on me.”

One of Bradica’s doctors told CBS 2 HD bird mites can be a very severe problem.

“They can be a nuisance and some people have been infected for years with these bird mites and have had difficulty eradicating them,” said Dr. Kenneth Steier.
Added Dr. Shadab Ahmed of Nassau Medical Center, “They can stick to the body. They are extremely tiny. I just sent three to be tested to the parasitology lab for identification.”

Doctors say there is absolutely no public health hazard. Mites can’t feed off human skin and will eventually drop off, but until then …
Bradica tried to describe her discomfort.

“They do go inside you. They go in your nose. They go in your ears. They go in your mouth.”
she is covered with welts and red bumps and wonders if her home will ever be livable again.

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4 Responses to “Bird Mites and Human Infestation….”

  1. Jaret Says:

    Gad-zooks, this is gross! Glad to see though that you are keeping up with our news here on Long Island! ;)

    Have a great 4th of July, my friend!

  2. Gerry Says:

    We at Hearts Pest Management agree that bird mites not only bite humans but also draw blood and live off humans. There are thousands of different mites, many of them known to live off humans. It is not a far stretch for certain bird mites to have adapted the ability to feed off a variety of species, including humans. We have come across several cases of people with similar symptoms who have been driven mad for months and years, all describing the same sequence of events, all starting with bird and rat nests that were taken away and an dog that happened to be in their proximity, then bringing the infestation into the home.

    We have met these poor souls who have divested themselves of their dogs, their furniture, their homes, with a never ending fear of the next bites.

    So you are not insane. Trust me.

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