Endemic ectoparasites

Table 4.2 List of endemic (end), possibly endemic (end?), eradicated (erad), and imported (imp) human ectoparasites known in Iceland. Species capable of causing skin irritation are also included. Further information and references are given in the text


Endemic Eradicated Imported Comments


Avian schistosome cercariae Ixodes uriea Ixodes ricinus Ornithonyssus bacoti Sarcoptes scabiei Cheyletiella spp. Phthirus pubis Pediculus humanus capitis Pediculus humanus humanus Cimex lectularius Simulium vittatum end end end end end end end end end?

erad erad imp Occasionally imported after eradication Common in running water ecosystems imp Regularly imported on migratory birds imp Few rat and gerbil infestations reported

Three freshwater leeches occur in Iceland 'Swimmers itch' has been reported since 1997 Very common on wild birds

Occurs rarely on humans Occurs rarely on cats and dogs Occurs rarely on humans Occurs rarely on humans Eradicated decades ago erad imp

Pulex irritans

Nosopsyllus fasciatus end

Ctenophthalmus agyrtes end

Ceratophyllus gallinae end

Ceratophyllus garei end

Eradicated decades ago, occasionally imported

Common on rodents

Common on rodents

Common on wild bird species

Common on wild bird species

Page 40

Pediculus spp. have been detected in medieval and post-medieval archaeological excavations from Iceland (Sveinbjarnardottir and Buckland 1983; Amorosi et al. 1992; Buckland et al. 1992). Written sources report Pediculus spp. by the middle of the eighteenth century (Olafsson 1981). The body louse P. h. humanus Linnaeus had already been eradicated but the head louse, P. h. capitis de Geer still survives. Both subspecies are regarded to have been very common in Iceland until the twentieth century. Pediculus humanus capitis was very common until approximately the middle of the twentieth century (Health Reports 1881-1990). In the 1920s, health examination of school children revealed P. h. capitis prevalence as high as 82% in some schools. Quite often prevalence values ranged between 20 and 50% (Sigurdsson 1928). In the 1930s and 1940s its occurrence dropped markedly. Obviously, it disappeared somewhat earlier in urban areas than in rural districts. During 1980-1982, on an average, 184 P. h. capitis cases were reported annually (Magnusson 1983). At present P. h. capitis is occasionally observed, mainly on school children.

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