Allergy to pigeon tick (Argas reflexus) in Upper Silesia, Poland.

Jagiellonian University Medical College, Faculty of Health Care, Institute of Public Health, Krakow, Poland. Radoslaw.Spiewak@cm-uj.krakow.pl
Ann Agric Environ Med 2006;13(1):107–112
The pigeon tick Argas reflexus is avian ectoparasite that typically feedson pigeons. When devoid of a natural host, the ticks can also attack humans. In Upper Silesia, southernPoland, people living in the vicinity of the birds' nesting sites are frequently bitten by A. reflexus.The bites can provoke serious allergic reactions, including fatal anaphylactic shock. In the presentstudy, residents of 9 apartments invaded by pigeon ticks were invited to undergo medical examination,skin prick tests (SPT) and determination of specific IgE to A. reflexus. The test allergens were preparedof ticks collected on-site. Out of 18 residents living in the infested apartments, 15 accepted the invitation.In this group, 8 persons complained of tick-related health problems, positive SPT to A. reflexus werefound in all of them, and specific IgE was detectable in 3 persons (range: 0.38-0.84 kUA/l; CAP class1-2). Final clinical diagnoses were established of generalised urticaria with asthma in 1 person, generalisedurticaria in another 1, and local allergic reactions to tick bites in the remaining 6. Among 7 symptom-freeresidents, all test results were negative. Besides the study group, the paper also describes the caseof a person who developed hypersensitivity to A. reflexus as a child, after a few visits to an abandoneddovecote. 30 years later, positive SPT (++) and specific IgE (0.78 kUA/l; CAP class 2) were still presentdespite no further re-exposures. The article also discusses available pest control measures against A.reflexus.