Display Settings:


Send to:

Choose Destination
We are sorry, but NCBI web applications do not support your browser and may not function properly. More information
J Am Acad Dermatol. 2007 Jun;56(6):952-5. Epub 2007 Mar 26.

Outbreak of lepidopterism at a Boy Scout camp.

Author information

  • 1Epidemic Intelligence Service, assigned to the New Mexico Department of Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia, USA. john.redd@ihs.gov



Lepidopterism refers to moth- or butterfly-associated illness, including contact dermatitis, urticaria, and occasional systemic reactions. Lepidopterism outbreaks are rare.


To investigate a lepidopterism outbreak associated with caterpillars of the Douglas-fir tussock moth (DFTM; Orgyia pseudotsugata) among Boy Scouts attending summer camp in New Mexico.


Retrospective cohort analysis; environmental investigation.


Attendees were primarily male (100/107; 94%) and less than 18 years old (82/107; 77%). Itch, rash, or hives were reported by 56 of 102 (55%) of campers. Patients were more likely to report direct caterpillar contact (relative risk [RR]: 2.7; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.3-5.5); playing a caterpillar-flicking game (RR: 1.9; 95% CI, 1.1-3.4); and sleeping at campsite 6, where caterpillars were most numerous (RR: 1.7; 95% CI, 1.3-2.4). All patients recovered.


Data on disease status and risk factors were collected retrospectively.


Modifying behaviors associated with lepidopterism and avoiding areas of heavy infestation can reduce illness risk.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Elsevier Science
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk