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House dust mite

House dust mite
Scientific classification
Phylum: Arthropoda
Binomial name
Dermatophagoides pteronyssinus
The house dust mite (Dermatophagoides pteronyssinus), sometimes abbreviated by allergists to HDM, is a cosmopolitan guest in human habitation. It is more common in Europe than North America, where it is replaced by D. farinae. The mite thrives in modern fully-carpeted, double-glazed, draught-proof homes, and is comfortable at 25C, 75% relative humidity.

The mite lives on shed human skin cells, predigested by a fungus Aspergillus repens. It is particularly common in carpets and bedding.

The house dust mite is one of the most important allergens, implicated in allergic asthma, rhinitis, conjunctivitis and dermatitis. The protein responsible for the allergic reaction is DerP1, a protease digestive enzyme found in mite feces.

Measures to control house dust mite include:

These measures, while reducing numbers of HDM and amounts of allergen, seem to have only marginal effects on allergic symptoms.