Comparison of diagnostic methods and sampling sites for the detection of demodex musculi

Melissa A. Nashat, Rodolfo J.Ricart Arbona, Elyn R. Riedel, Olga Francino, Lluis Ferrer, Kerith R. Luchins, Neil S. Lipman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Copyright © 2018 by the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science. Demodex mites are microscopic, cigar-shaped, follicular mites often regarded as commensal microfauna in mammals. Although Demodex spp. can cause dermatologic disease in any immunocompromised mammal, they are rarely reported in laboratory mice. Recent identification of Demodex musculi in a colony of immunodeficient mice with dermatitis afforded us the opportunity to investigate the comparative sensitivity of 4 antemortem diagnostic techniques to detect D. musculi-superficial skin scrape (SSS), tape impression (TI), fur pluck (FP), and deep skin scrape (DSS)-which we performed on 4 anatomic sites (face, interscapular region [IS], caudal ventrum [CV], and caudal dorsum [CD]) in 46 mice. DSS had an overall detection rate of 91.1% (n = 112 tests), with the highest detection rates in IS (93.5%), CV (89.1%), and CD (90.0%). The detection rates for SSS (62.5%; n = 112 tests), TI (57.5%; n = 138 tests), and FP (62.7%; n = 158 tests) were all lower than for DSS. IS was the most reliable site. Results from combined FP and DSS samples collected from IS and CV yielded 100% detection, whereas the face was not a desirable sampling site due to inadequate sample quality and low detection rate. Demodex eggs and larvae were observed from FP more often than DSS (19.0% of 158 tests compared with 14.3% of 112 tests). In a subset of samples, an 18S rRNA PCR assay was equivalent to DSS for detection of mites (both 100%, n = 8). We recommend collecting samples from both IS and CV by both FP and DSS to assess for the presence of D. musculi and performing further studies to assess whether PCR analysis can be used as a diagnostic tool for the detection of Demodex mites in laboratory mice.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)173-185
JournalJournal of the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2018


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