Do Yourself a Favor: Search “Parasitic Mites PCR.”

As a matter of principle, I don’t accept ads on this site or suggest specific products.
But in a continuing effort to move parasitic mite diagnosis from the stone age into the 21st century, I am going to suggest you search “Parasitic Mites PCR” and read up on the growing body of research in this field. And even though I’ve not yet talked with these folks, here is an intriguing website that offers molecular testing for parasitic mites on non-human animals.
http://www.zoologix.com/avian/Datasheets/Mites.html
We are getting so close, folks…
Let’s work together to make this happen.

A Call to Self-Advocacy for People with Parasitic Mites

I hear from more and more people about their struggles with parasitic mites. So many lost homes, ruined marriages, derailed careers, decimated savings accounts. So many children suffering, so many pets being put down. Hopefully the reason I hear from so many is that more folks are finding my book, this site, and my Facebook page — and NOT that more people are contracting mite infestations. But with the climate warming (which favors arthropods), and with the continued popularity of backyard poultry, it is possible the number of affected people is increasing. As long as the problem officially does not exist and is not tracked, it will be difficult to know for sure.

What is clear is that there are enough of us, with enough smarts and enough indignation, to begin to breach the official denial that has prevented people with mites from getting help for so many years. Networks are forming. There are petitions signed by thousands, there are groups sharing ideas on Facebook. In Europe, Dr. Olivier Sparagano has begun a professional organization to fight the red poultry mite, that will surely benefit humans as well as agricultural animals. Dr. David George has published his groundbreaking article in the journal Parasites & Vectors on the need to consider parasitic mites as a human and veterinary diagnosis. Nat Willingham, who runs a group on Facebook, is working to form a patient organization.

If you are a person with mites, and if you have any energy left after working the grueling protocols you’ll find on this site and elsewhere, here are some things you can do:

Join Nat Willingham’s Skin Mites Support Group on Facebook and volunteer to help with her new organization and its website

Get involved with your local Biohacking or Citizen Science group, and learn to identify your own parasitic mite species

Start educating the people around you about how to avoid a parasitic mite infestation, because an ounce of prevention really is worth a pound of cure. And it can be as simple as suggesting your friends refuse to bring a bird’s nest or feathers info their homes

When someone disputes the reality of your infestation, be prepared. Refer them to David George’s article, or to the “Frequently Asked Questions for Friends and Family” section of The Year of the Mite. It is time we all came out of the closet.

Meanwhile look for a questionnaire soon on this site. Gathering information systematically about the shared natural history of infestation will help us approach NIH and the CDC with a scientifically based appeal for assistance.

When I think about people who had to deal with parasitic mites before the internet, with no information and no support, it fills me with sorrow. It is hard enough to overcome this scourge with the support and information we have now. But we have come a long way from those isolated days. And together we will overcome the institutional denial that adds to the health issues of too many people with parasitic mites.

With all best wishes to you and yours,
Jane

Host Expansion in Mites.

Paradigm Shifts are Hard to Do: Host Expansion in Mites.

The process of publishing The Year of the Mite has been fascinating.

Year of the Mite Book Cover

This story is based on a year in the life of an American family.

The support from our community is terrific.  And in that community I include not only folks who have (or have had) parasitic mites, but also the many professionals whose mite paradigm has already shifted. And make no mistake: a shift is happening.  It started in 1958, when entomologists published an article about isolation of human blood cells in the guts of chicken mites in a New York City apartment.  For those who read it, that professional journal article moved the conversation from “chicken mites don’t bite people,” to “chicken mites can’t reproduce while feeding on human blood.” At last, host expansion in mites starts to be recognized.

The ground shifted again with the 2015 publication of the David Green article in Parasite and Vector regarding the ability of what we call “chicken mites” to change host species.  These mites are quite adaptable to new host species — a process called “host expansion.”  A whole group of entomologists published those findings.  Those of us who have had parasitic mites quite agree.

Like many paradigm shifts, this one is happening slowly, and it is not happening evenly across the board.  While obtaining permission for the quotes in The Year of the Mite, I encountered one author who refused to grant permission to use an informative quotation from an agricultural bulletin.  This scientist told me he frequently heard from people who claim to have mites, and that what I alleged about mite behavior on humans was impossible.

I found that attitude troubling in two respects.  First, I doubt that a word like “impossible” furthers the scientific goal of exploring the universe with an open mind.  At its best, science offers a terrific opportunity to ask questions and learn more about existence, with no agenda, no ax to grind.

Second, as a mite survivor, I am concerned when I  encounter professionals who deny the possibility that the evidence of my senses, along with parasitic mites collected in the environment, reflected an objective phenomenon.  I am especially concerned for the health and safety of people who still have mites.  And I know that folks with parasitic mites are out there – many write to me at this site, and on my Facebook page.

On the other hand, science runs on data, and data about parasitic mite infestation is tough to come by.  Mites are rapidly moving organisms, many translucent, and many the size of the point of a pin.  The good news is, this lack of data may be ripe for change.  Researchers who study face mites have developed a new way to collect mite DNA from the faces of people with these scavenger mites, and then sequence the mite DNA to distinguish it from host DNA.  Using these methods, scientists have raised the estimate of people with face mites from a small minority to almost 100% of humans.

This same method could be used to collect parasitic mites.  Collection of Dermanyssus gallinae from the skin of people with parasitic mites would shift the conversation yet again, to make it clear what species of mites inhabit a human host.

Paradigm shifts are hard to do.  But the good news is that in science, data eventually wins.  For the sake of people with parasitic mites, the next phase in this shift can’t happen soon enough.

 

Envy – An Excerpt from the Book – The Year of the Mite

It was dusk, just when the bugs woke up to bite. While awaiting a load of laundry at a laundromat, I sat on a wooden bench on the sidewalk facing a restaurant. I was dressed in thin clothes that were easy to wash, and I was cold. It was a chilly night, and I was a homeless person with a six-figure income.

As I sat on the bench, a man and a woman in their forties approached the restaurant. He was trim, looked like he worked out. He had dark hair and a pencil moustache.

She was slender too, had light brown hair, wispy and almost blonde. She was wearing a baby blue sweater, had it wrapped tightly and her arms crossed.

When they arrived at the restaurant, the man reached across and opened the door for her. They passed through, into a warm evening of good food and later, maybe sex, and almost certainly a cozy sleep. And here is the thing: the expressions on their faces as they walked through the door. They were so blasé, almost bored, as if maybe they were both trying really hard to play it cool. That is what I’d like to think: that they were finally on a date with each other, really did appreciate what they had, could not wait to be together, and were wearing their game faces because they were both playing hard to get.

But in the moment I saw their faces, while I sat there cold because warm jackets are too hard to wash every night, while I had no appetite and things bit me and crawled on me, I believed these two people were just as uninterested as they looked. And I had a flash of complete hatred for this couple I never met. I hated them more intensely than I hated my screaming alcoholic eleventh grade chemistry teacher. I hated them more than I ever hated anybody, and these were people I never talked with, people who had done me no wrong. I hated them because I envied their ability to take it all for granted. I hated them because they were innocent of what it was to be haunted. I hated them because their skin was unmarked, and nobody was in their hair or their ears or their belly buttons. I hated them because I wanted that. I wanted to be just that privileged. I wanted to not even notice how good I had it, and I did not know if I would ever feel nonchalant again.

It was a flash, one second, then the door closed and I never saw them again. I don’t know whether they noticed what they ate, or if they spoke at dinner or just sat, glazed over. For all I know they were run over by a bus that night.

I am not even sure now which laundromat I sat near, what restaurant it was. If I saw that couple again I would not know them. But I will never forget those blank expressions, those bland eyes, the man smug and entitled, the woman serene and self-contained.

And I wonder if, in that moment when I hated them, I was alive in a way that they were not. It is tempting to believe that awareness is the prize and contentment the booby prize. But really, of course, it’s the other way around.