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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

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

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

OBJECTIVE:

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.

METHODS:

Retrospective cohort analysis; environmental investigation.

RESULTS:

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.

LIMITATIONS:

Data on disease status and risk factors were collected retrospectively.

CONCLUSION:

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

PMID:
17368636
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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