All you need to know about the house dust mite

Dust Mite Studies

We like to think that students, teachers or even professionals will be using our site to research projects and understand the mite from another prospective. The following links we believe to be significant for research and general academic pursuits.

Medical and scientific quotes for students investigating mites.

The following quotes are from published papers. Copies of the papers can be obtained from medical libraries or from referenced sources.

What is the allergy causing house dust mite

The house dust mite 'Dermatophagoides pteronyssinus' is a tiny scavenger with a preference for eating mouldy old discarded human skin scales, but will also eat pollen grains, insect scales, bacteria and plant fibres. It has no sight, no respiratory system, cannot control its body temperature and lives by absorbing moisture and oxygen from the atmosphere. Mite droppings, which contain digestive enzymes, are a major cause of allergy and allergic disease worldwide. A single dropping can contain up to 14 separate and fully identified allergens.

Why study the major cause of allergy, the house dust mite?

Allergy is fast becoming an epidemic in the developed world and house dust mites are recognised as a major cause of asthma, rhinitis and dermatitis. Allergic disease is costly to the patient, to society, and asthma can kill.

Study a major cause of allergy in school

Attention teachers. For students of all ages, below are the five steps that can be taken in the study of the house dust mite and why its ancient history, biology, and ecology can be the cause of allergic asthma, rhinitis and dermatitis. The depth of the study can be adjusted to reflect the age or requirement of each student or class.

Interesting mite species for study

Below are some astonishing mite and animal relationships that have evolved over millions of year of live on earth. Have a look through before going on to an important mite for human health 'Dermatophagoides' spp.

Why house dust mites (HDM) cause allergic disease

When people, usually with a family history of allergy, are repeatedly exposed to house dust mite (HDM) droppings they can develop a sensitivity to the digestive enzymes found in the droppings. If mite exposure continues, and their immune system consider the enzymes harmful, they risk developing house dust mite related allergic diseases of asthma, rhinitis, atopic dermatitis (eczema) and conjunctivitis.

Skin prick testing for sensitisation and allergy

A skin prick test is a safe method of introducing a small amount of allergen into the body in order to measure the strength of any allergic reaction. Timing for reactions can start 5 minutes after the test and peak about 30 minutes later. Skin prick testing can help confirm the diagnosis of an allergic disease.

How to discourage mite infestation indoors

Mites are most active and breed successfully at a temperature of 72 F or 20 C. In this warm indoor environment, a breeding mite must maintain its water weight at 75% in order to function. By reducing the moisture in the indoor air, the active mite will not be able to sustain this weight. Consequently, it will not be able to breed or thrive and the mite colony becomes threatened with extinction.

Ozone, photocopiers, asthma and the mite

Ozone is an unstable, colourless, odourless gas that occurs naturally in the atmosphere from solar radiation and electrical storms or from electrical equipment such as photocopiers in the indoor environment.

Bugs in the gut of the mite

As long ago as 1989 scientists noted that 'rickettsia-like' bacteria were infesting the gut of the mite, but how they gained access has never fully been explained. In 2008 an explanation emerged, and more recently, some species described.

All about house dust mite droppings

House dust mite droppings consist of 3 to 5 food balls bound together by mucus. Each ball is wrapped in a semipermeable membrane. The dropping, containing scraps of undigested food and digestive enzymes, is then excreted. The enzymes help turn leftovers into future food for the mite. A healthy mite can produce up to twenty droppings a day.

House dust mites (HDM) and SIDS

Exposure to house dust mites - an avoidable risk factor for sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) - is not identified in safe sleep guidelines. This article explains why reducing exposure to house dust mites (HDM), and their droppings, is of equal importance to current common-knowledge recommendations.

Mites - domestic, storage, and house dust mites. What's the difference?

Domestic mites - are all mites found in the indoor environment that are capable of causing human sensitisation. Sensitisation means that the immune system is alert to the mite's presence and its allergens. Once sensitised, repeated exposure to the mite can lead to allergy and allergic disease in some people, usually those with allergies in their families. Mites, associated with allergy are classified in two distinctive groups. They are recognised by where they live, and what they eat.

House dust mite's formal classification. A quick reference

The house dust mite belongs to the scientific world known as Arthropoda. Here is a shortened version of how to find its place in this vast animal Kingdom.

Eczema and the house dust mite (HDM)

Excessive exposure to house dust mites (HDM) can cause allergic rhinitis, asthma and eczema. In order to reduce exposure, doctors say it is essential to understand the how mites live and why they cause disease. Below are some simple facts about the mite and practical advice on how to keep beds and bedding mite free.

2010 Non-IgE reactions from dust mites

Dangerous non-IgE inflammatory reaction from dust mites is named as a 'New Aspirin Triad'. Scientists are piecing together the reasons why ingestion of mite contaminated wheat flour can result in severe anaphylaxis in a subset of mite allergic patients who are also hypersensitive to non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as aspirin.

Lung cells in asthma - protectors or drivers of disease.

This review is a thorough, if not disturbing, examination of the sentinel role of the airway epithelium in asthma. It also questions the current, generalized classification and treatment of chronic and severe asthma.

Dust mite poison in action

The image below shows a house dust mite eating a mite dropping. In the dropping are leftover scraps of food that have been broken down by active enzymes to produce new nourishment. Because of its exquisite sense of smell the house dust mite can tell when the dropping is ready for eating.

Der p23, a dangerous new allergen from house dust mites (HDM)

The newly discovered house dust mite allergen (Der p23) appears to come from cells lining the middle section of the mite multi-chambered gut and is intended to protect the mite from toxic food and be part of the film that encloses mite droppings. Der p23 is a major mite allergen discovered in 2013.

The allergy causing house dust mite was once a parasitic-like animal

Evidence points to the fact that house dust mites once belonged to a family of mange-like parasites that thrived on the skin of warm-blooded animals. At some stage during evolution they changed to become free-living scavengers, residing in warm, damp and dark nest sites, eating decaying organic matter such as discarded skin scales. The change was beneficial for the mite because it no longer depended upon the life of its host for its existence, and could use its former disease causing enzymes to break down food. It is these enzymes that are now blamed for causing allergic asthma, rhinitis and dermatitis.

Wonder why house dust mites cause allergic disease?

By comparing an active digestive enzyme from the house dust mite to an active digestive enzyme from the mange mite parasite, P ovis, a striking similarity can be made that tie the mites together in allergy. It appears that the mites are ancient relatives who gain nourishment by living on, or from, the skin of warm-blooded animals. For the parasite P ovis, life over millions of years has not changed much, it still causes severe itching and allergic dermatitis in sheep and goats. However, for the house dust mite, at some stage in time it changed from a parasitic-like existence to life as a scavenger while retaining its parasitic enzyme. Only now the enzyme is called an allergen.

House dust mites (HDM) were once mange mites

The house dust mite (HDM) used to be a parasite living on the skin of warm-blooded animals and has retained some parasitic properties in the enzymes it produced to digest food. In ancient times the mite's closest relative was the sheep scab mange mite, a mite that causes severe itching and allergic dermatitis in sheep and goats. That was the message from recent research published by The University of Michigan