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Keywords:

  • Coleoptera allergy;
  • Dermestidae allergy;
  • wool worker allergy;
  • occupational asthma

Background: The family Dermestidae belongs to the order Coleoptera. Occupational allergy has been described in museum personnel. A 31-year-old male wool worker presenting rhinoconjunctivitis and asthma episodes probably linked to exposure to Dermestidae-infected wool was investigated.

Methods: Extracts prepared either from insect bodies or from dust from parasitized wool were used for skin prick testing (SPT), conjunctival and bronchial provocation tests and in vitro determinations.

Results: SPT and provocation tests were positive to both extracts. PEFR measurement demonstrated the association between the patient's symptoms and occupational exposure to Dermestidae. Specific IgE to both extracts was detected and immunoblotting revealed several protein bands from 5 to 200 kDa that were reactive to IgE from the patient's serum.

Conclusions: Dermestidae exposure in wool workers when handling parasitized wool can be a cause of IgE-mediated rhinoconjunctivitis and asthma.