Some non-host-specific, endemic parasites, which can cause irritation on human skin, are listed in Table 42.
Three freshwater Hirudinea (Theromyzon tessulatum, T. garjaewi, and T. maculosum) are known to attack humans but normally they parasitize on waterfowl (Bruun 1938; Hallgrimsson 1979). Recently cercariae of an unknown avian schistosome species caused 'swimmers itch' on humans wading in a pond in the Family Park of Reykjavik (Kolarova et al. 1999).
Acarina ectoparasites, sometimes attacking humans, include the blood-sucking ticks Ixodes uriea which is common on several sea-bird species and Ixodes ricinus which is probably frequently imported on migratory birds but might be endemic in some localities (Richter 1981). In the 1970s the tropical rat mite Ornithonyssus bacoti was reported to annoy humans living close to nests of the common rat Rattus norvegicus (Richter 1977) and in 2001 the species was again reported to attack owners of Mongolian gerbils (Meriones unguiculatus), which had been kept as pets (Skirnisson 2001). Further species are Cheyletiella parasitovorax, which has caused skin irritation on Persian cat owners (Skirnisson et al. 1997) and C. yasguri (Karl Skirnisson, unpublished data).
Among the insects, bird fleas, mainly Ceratophyllus gallinae, and to a lesser extent Ceratophyllus garei, and the rodent fleas Nosopsyllus fasciatus and Ctenoptalmus agyrtes sometimes attack humans who live in close proximity to infested birds and rodents (Richter 1977; Bengtson et al. 1986; Skirnisson 1995). The black fly Simulium vittatum frequently sucks blood from humans and sometimes the louse-fly Ornithomya chloropus also bites humans. Both species are common in Iceland (Olafsson 1991). None of the insects are known to be vectors of transmittable human diseases in Iceland.
Was this article helpful?