Investigation of a gamasid mite infestation in a UK textile mill caused by Dermanyssus gallinae (DeGeer, 1778) (Mesostigmata: Dermanyssidae) special lineage L1.
A recurrent mite infestation affecting a room used to inspect fabric in a UK textile mill was investigated to allay concerns of any potential health risks to factory staff, and to inform the unknown risk of downgrading of the product. The approach integrated conventional morphological examination of adult female mites by referring to published identification keys, with molecular speciation based on amplification of a 16S ribosomal DNA fragment. The methods enabled the mites to be unambiguously identified as Dermanyssus gallinae 'special lineage L1'. Subsequent investigations showed the source of infestation to be pigeons nesting in the air ducts, with the gamasid mites moving into the room once the young birds had fledged. This is the first report of D. gallinae 'special lineage L1' in northern Europe. Previous reports of nosocominal gamasoidosis caused by D. gallinae 'special lineage L1' originating from feral pigeon populations have been from southern Europe. Confirmation of the mite identity was important in allowing the mill to take remedial and preventive action. In this clinical communication, we provide images of the key morphological features used to identify D. gallinae and describe a molecular protocol to confirm 'special lineage L1'.