Anthrenus dermatitis L23.9

Author: Prof. Dr. med. Peter Altmeyer

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Last updated on: 29.10.2020

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Synonym(s)

Carpet beetle dermatitis; Carpet beetle larvae dermatitis; Museum beetle larvae dermatitis

Definition
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Itchy urticarial-papular skin reaction caused by contact with larvae of the Anthrenus beetle.

Pathogen
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Larvae of Anthrenus scrophulariae (common carpet beetle), Anthrenus museorum (museum beetle) and other Anthrenus species.

Etiopathogenesis
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The larvae, which feed on dry keratin-containing substances, live in wool, furs, skin scales, carpets and stuffed animals. Contact with the arrowhead-like hairs of the larva causes allergic skin reactions.

Localization
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Lower leg and trunk, usually in symmetrical arrangement.

Clinical features
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Up to 8 mm large, loosely disseminated, erythematous, partially excoriated, symmetrically distributed papules. Different degrees of itching.

Histology
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Acanthosis, parakeratosis, necrobiosis of superficial epithelial layers, subepidermal edema with erythrocyte extravasations and lymphocyte infiltrates (numerous eosinophils).

Diagnosis
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Immediate urticarial reaction in the prick test with larval extract. Itchy, papular late type reaction detectable for about 4 days. Detection of larvae in the apartment.

Differential diagnosis
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Bedbug bites (urticarial grouped distribution pattern), human fleas (diascopically detectable purpura pulicosa), trombidiosis (urticarial plaques in the area of tight clothing), cercaria (bathing in suspicious waters).

Complication(s)
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Pulmonary symptoms with asthmatic reaction.

Therapy
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Preparations containing glucocorticoids. Regular sweeping or vacuuming and removal of furs, pelts, stuffed animals and wool carpets. Insecticides, e.g. pyrethrum extracts.

Literature
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  1. Ahmed AR, Moy R, Barr AR, Price Z (1981) Carpet beetle dermatitis. J Am Acad Dermatol 5: 428-432
  2. Horster S, Prince JC, Holm N, Wollenberg A (2002) Anthrenus dermatitis. dermatologist 53: 328-331

Disclaimer

Please ask your physician for a reliable diagnosis. This website is only meant as a reference.

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Last updated on: 29.10.2020