Tiny black and red dots biting and causing itching. Targeting my 2 year old the worst

Asked February 19, 2018, 7:00 PM EST

Hi, Roberto. My family and I started getting itchy and bitten by small black specks in October, when the weather changed overnight. My children are 2 and 3, and have definitely had it the worst. It does not effect me like it does them. I itch and do feel random bites, but that is it. My kids and fiance seem to be attacked all at once. They can feel it when they get close to an area where alot of them are grouped together. We have been treated with permethrin and ivermectin several times, but it does not seem to be very effective. We have been to the E.R. so many times I can't count. The dots are very small but are visible. They are mostly black, but some are red, clear, or an off white color. They just look like a round speck, but get squarish shaped brown specks. Their excrement? We originally thought it was scabies, but we do not have burrows, and most are easily scratched off of our skin. My fiance and I got rid of all furniture and bagged up everything in our house, but we are infested. They are on our walls, in our sinks, and our vehicles; everywhere we are. I am not able to send a picture right now, but I don't feel like it would help much. It is about the size of a flake of pepper. We also had our house treated for mites. It seems like they arent as bad for a day, then come back 10 times worse. This has happened several. I apologize for the long message. My children are so young, and have been traumatized by all of this. If you can help any at all, I would appreciate it so much.

Butler County Ohio

1 Response

Wow! These cases can be extremely difficult and troubling to deal with. With all the things you have done, I hate to say that is sounds like you may not be dealing with any kind of insect or mite. I get 20-30 such cases coming through my office every year. It is always such a relief when we actually find an insect or mite that is causing the symptoms, but in most of the cases, there is NO insect or mite. Unfortunately, this syndrome (often called Disillusions of Parasitosis, or Morgellon's disease) will usually continue until the person suffering the symptoms seeks the proper mental health care. It is extremely rare to have such young people suffering these symptoms. The two groups that most commonly suffer this syndrome are in their mid-20s to mid-30s or older than 50. Frankly, this is the first case I've had reported to me that deals with such small children. I've had teenagers that have been reported until I was able to interview the clients and they usually state that "Mom keeps thinking I'm infested with something because it occasionally scratch my skin!" In short, the child was not suffering, but the parent was thinking they were suffering. Unfortunately, there are several web sites that are run by people suffering this syndrome. Several describe the "black spots" that you are describing and others cover bird mites that they claim are persisting for months or even years (which they can't do without bird hosts).

You mention that you have gone to the emergency room facilities on a regular basis. Is this with a certified hospital or one of the local clinics? We are seeing a lot of improper diagnosis being handed out by local clinics that are staffed with nurses, not MD doctors! Has your family physician referred your daughters to a dermatologist? Dermatologists will be able to take any appropriate samples and run the diagnostic procedures needed to determine if your daughters have a fungal skin disease or scabies mites. They can also run the diagnostic screening for allergies. It would be entirely possible that your daughters are simply allergic to some particular fabric, detergent, fabric softener, etc. Finally, PLEASE listen to your physicians or dermatologist if they state that they can find no causal agent for the symptoms! The next step would be to consult with a mental health care specialist that deals with these kinds of cases. I have attached a link to our factsheet that deals with this syndrome.


If you still wish to submit samples, our Plant and Pest Diagnostic Clinic accepts physical samples. From your description, it could be possible that you are seeing one of the biting mites. If they are present during the winter months, they would be most likely one of the rodent mites as bird mites are only encountered during the summer months unless the client has chickens oor pet birds. Simply gather some of these "dots" onto a piece of clear tape and lightly attach the tape to a card or piece of paper. The diagnostic clinic's web site is located at: https://ppdc.osu.edu On this site, you will find the forms for submitting samples. If you have images, you can email those to me directly at: shetlar.1@osu.edu.