Experimental and Applied Acarology

, Volume 42, Issue 1, pp 55–59 | Cite as

Experimental method for isolating and identifying dust mites from sputum in pulmonary acariasis

  • Rafael Martínez-GirónEmail author
  • Hugo Cornelis van Woerden
  • Andrés Ribas-Barceló
Short Communication


The aim of this study was to pilot a simpler and more effective method for identifying dust mites in sputum. Dust mites and their allergens have been implicated in respiratory diseases, including pulmonary acariasis, and several studies have identified mites in sputum. Further research is dependent on the development of a faster and simpler diagnostic test. We have demonstrated that dust mites artificially introduced into sputa, could be identified after the sputa were liquefied with bleach, when the liquid sample was observed under the microscope. Liquefaction times for serous, mucous, purulent and hemoptoic sputa varied from 10 to 30 min (mean 17.5). The test had a sensitivity of 80% (95% CI 68.2–88.2%) as 46/60 mites were identified. This procedure can be performed quickly at room temperature, is simple, inexpensive, repeatable, and less labourious than previous methods.


Dust mites Dermatophagoides Sputum liquefaction Bleach Diagnostic test 


  1. Boquete M, Iraola V, Fernandez-Caldas E et al (2006) House dust mite species and allergen levels in Galicia, Spain: a cross-sectional, multicenter, comparative study. J Investig Allergol Clin Immunol 16:169–176PubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. Carter HF, Wedd G, D’Abrera VS (1944) The occurrence of mites (Acarina) in human sputum and their possible significance. Indian Med Gaz 79:163–168Google Scholar
  3. Chen XB, Sun X, Hu SF (1990) Clinical manifestation and treatment of pulmonary acariasis. Zhongguo Ji Sheng Chong Xue Yu Ji Sheng Chong Bing Za Zhi 8:217–219PubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. Ciftci IH, Cetinkaya Z, Atambay M et al (2006) House dust mite fauna in western Anatolia, Turkey. Korean J Parasitol 44:259–264PubMedGoogle Scholar
  5. Dini LA, Frean JA (2005) Clinical significance of mites in urine. J Clin Microbiol 43:6200–6201PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Farley ML, Mabry LC, Hieger LR (1989) Mites in pulmonary cytology specimens. Diagn Cytopathol 5:416–426PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Grebski E, Peterson C, Medici TC (2001) Effect of physical and chemical methods of homogenization on inflammatory mediators in sputum of asthma patients. Chest 119:1521–1525PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Hirakoa E, Sato T, Shirai W et al (2001) A case of pulmonary acariasis in lung of Japanese macaque. J Vet Med Sci 63:87–89CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Kijima S (1963) A case of pulmonary acariasis. Histopathological findings of resected lungs. Br Med J 1:451–452PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Li C, Li L (1990) Human pulmonary acariasis in Anhui Province: an epidemiological survey. Zhongguo Ji Sheng Chong Xue Yu Ji Sheng Chong Bing Za Zhi 8:41–44PubMedGoogle Scholar
  11. Li CP, Cui YB, Wang J et al (2003) Acaroid mite, intestinal and urinary acariasis. World J Gastroenterol 9:874–877PubMedGoogle Scholar
  12. Nadchatram M (2005) House dust mites, our intimate associates. Trop Biomed 22:23–37PubMedGoogle Scholar
  13. Paris C, Galateau-Salle F, Creveuil C et al (2002) Asbestos bodies in the sputum of asbestos workers: correlation with occupational exposure. Eur Respir J 20:1167–1173PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Proctor HC (2001) Extracting aquatic mites from stream substrates: a comparison of three methods. Exp Appl Acarol 25:1–11PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Racewicz M (2001) House dust mites (Acari: Pyroglyphidae) in the cities of Gdansk and Gdynia (northern Poland). Ann Agric Environ Med 8:33–38PubMedGoogle Scholar
  16. Roggli VL, Piantadosi CA, Bell DY (1986) Asbestos bodies in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid. A study of 20 asbestos-exposed individuals and comparison to patients with other chronic interstitial lung diseases. Acta Cytol 30:470–476PubMedGoogle Scholar
  17. Ryu JS, Ree HI, Min DY et al (2003) A human case of house dust mite Tarsonemus floricolus collected from sputum. Korean J Parasitol 41:171–173PubMedGoogle Scholar
  18. Sasa M (1950) Mites of the genus Dermatophagoides Bogdanov, 1864, found from three cases of human acariasis. Jpn J Exp Med 20:519–525Google Scholar
  19. Sasa M (1951) Further notes on mites of the genus Dermatophagoides Bogdanov from human acariasis (Acarina, Epidermoptidae). Jpn J Exp Med 21:199–203Google Scholar
  20. Thind BB (2000) Determination of low levels of mite and insect contaminants in food and feedstuffs by a modified flotation method. J AOAC Int 83:113–119PubMedGoogle Scholar
  21. Wang NS (1988) Anatomy. In: Dail DH, Hammar SP (eds) Pulmonary pathology. Springer-Verlag, New York, p 36Google Scholar
  22. Xia H, Hu SF, Chen XB et al (2005) Survey and treatment of pulmonary acariasis among the workers involving in traditional Chinese medicinal materials. Zhongguo Ji Sheng Chong Xue Yu Ji Sheng Chong Bing Za Zhi 23:114–116PubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rafael Martínez-Girón
    • 1
    • 4
    Email author
  • Hugo Cornelis van Woerden
    • 2
  • Andrés Ribas-Barceló
    • 1
    • 3
  1. 1.Fundación INCLÍNICAOviedoSpain
  2. 2.Division of Community Health SciencesSt George’s, University of LondonLondonUK
  3. 3.Servicio de Anatomía PatológicaHospital Universitario Central de AsturiasOviedoSpain
  4. 4.GijonSpain

Personalised recommendations