ABC News
Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Woman Quarantined With Bird Mites

Long Island Woman Rushed to Hospital in Hazmat Suit to Prevent Spread of Itchy Bugs


A Long Island woman was put in a quarantined hospital room Thursday night after emergency workers came to her home and found her skin crawling with nearly invisible parasites that doctors believe are bird mites.

bird mite
(ABC News Photo Illustration)

The woman, Nina Bradica, 45, of Levittown, N.Y., called 911 complaining of chest pains. Police and firefighters placed the woman in a protective hazardous-materials suit to transport her to a county hospital.

"She is in stable but less-than-comfortable condition," said Dr. Ken Steier of Nassau University Medical Center. "Based on what was found in her home, this may be a bird mite infestation. We've collected three specimens that appear to be mites and have sent them to the CDC."

Bird mites are tiny parasitic insects about a half a millimeter long and are usually invisible to the the naked eye. People infested with mites break out in red bumps that can cause intense itching and irritation.


Steier said Bradica is in "a clearly marked quarantined room. Those entering must wear caps, gowns, gloves and shoes and no one is permitted to come in direct physical contact with her."

He said there were "no documented cases of bird mites causing severe internal illnesses" but called them a "nuisance that produce extreme itching and scratching. They can live in your clothes, sheets, linens and closets. They don't really suck your blood, but live on the skin."

Steier said there was a nest of wild birds on the roof of Bradica's house that connected to the woman's bathroom through a vent.

"Mites are ubiquitous in wild birds of all types," the doctor said. "They live on birds and when the birds leave their nests they look for a mammal host; sometimes those mammals are humans."

She is being treated with "intravenous fluids, local skin care and benedryl for the itching."

When contacted by ABC News, Bradica referred calls to her lawyer, Kenneth Mollins.

Mollins said Bradica was a tenant in the home, which records indicate is owned by Louis and Nancy Demetro.

  • 1
  • |
  • 2
Next Story: Docs Hail Face Transplant Patient's 'Resilience'
Comment & Contribute

Do you have more information about this topic? If so, please click here to contact the editors of ABC News.

I can say that the "mites" will raid your house, body and sanity anytime of year. My husband and I bought our first home last September. We have spent countless hours updating and renovating it to make it "ours". In February we had a few warm days, so we decided to clean out our overgrown flowerbeds that were full of unkept shrubs and Ivy. We removed Holly bushes and Ivy, within 2-3 days we both began breaking out and itching like mad. After a trip to the Dr. I was told it was Scabies...I was horrified (if I only knew then what I know now!) We had to wear some pesticide lotion for 16 hours and treat all of the other members of our family. It wasn't 4 days later and my husband and I broke out with new itchy dots and I became obsessed. It was a day or so later that I noticed these tiny black bugs climbing all around my bathroom wind0w! I grabbed a ziploc bag and gathered a few for evidence (to prove I wasn't losing it, talking about these tiny black dots climbing everywhere). After I confirmed it a new nightmare began. Nothing like the image of tiny mited climbing in and out places EVERYWHERE including your nose,mouth,hair, and every other place on your body to make you go crazy. Add to hat the endless itching and scratching, leaving sores and scars. The only relief is when I'm in a hot bath of epsom salts or in the drowsy Benadryl fog. It has only been 4 days since we finally realized it's not scabies we are fighting so I am reading every file on the internet can find. Believe me I wouldn't be so quick to judge others about things you have no experience with and therefore truly know nothing about. We are very clean people and we were sick when we thought my husband brought home scabies from possibly lying his coat on a floor during his days a work as a flooring installer, the words "be thankful", and "it could be worse", are NOTHING that I want to hear right now. I JUST WISH I NEVER KNEW WHAT A BIRD MITE IS!
bamaag75 Mar-12
I have a new home less than a year old, have several housekeepers thoroughly clean weekly, & now have bird mites due to a couple stupid pigeons that got into a gutter in an upper balcony. The situation is truly a NIGHTMARE. The itching, huge bites, crawling sensation, & lack of sleep can drive anyone to hopelessness. NO doctors or dermatologists will EVER be useful in regard to a mite problem - they are clueless. I've been to 6 so far. The last derm did perform a skin biopsy that was able to confirm "anthropod" activity in my skin, but could not identify the type. But by now, I already know they are bird mites. Sooo, Step 1: remove the nests (& any birds, dead or alive.) Spray miticide everywhere where they were. Step 2: Get a PCO to perform a full indoor/outdoor insecticidal solution. Step 3: Dust carpets with Sevin Dust) this helps SIGNIFICANTLY) & vacuum several hours later. Repeat every 7-10 days. Step 4: Wash everything you have in epsom salts, ammonia, & borax. Dry on super high heat. Step 5: Consider dusting boric acid & diatomaceous earth everywhere in your house (as its harmless to humans & pets.) Then PRAY... If your infestation isn't horrible, & caught within a decent time period from its onset, you may be able to solve the problem within a few months. But good luck!! These things are tenacious as hell, can adapt to most pesticides & evolve to be resistant to them, & lay eggs like mad. It is entirely possible that once they are acquired, it may never be possible to fully get rid of them. But the steps above will make life tolerable once more - just be diligent with the cleaning & insecticide use. Don't give up!! My thoughts will always be with others who struggle with this horrific pestilence.
C.-Rose Dec-26
The facts are once you get them it is very difficult to get rid of them. they cause a nightmare no one would ever want to go through. Up all night not knowing what they are is the worse,changing sheets and clothing two,three times in a nightThe mental anquish is not to be beleived It took me three months to figure out what they were the first time. Spent a fortune on prescription cream to rid them from the body, ripped up rugs,sprayed everything in sight new mattress,etc. I finally got rid of them by freesing them out.That was the first time,thought it was a fluke thing and went on with my life. The second time was'nt as bad but found a birds nest in a tree toward my back rooms which is where it was always the worst. Got rid of the nest thought that was the end and now have it again. I live in a condominium apartment setting and live on the second floor. I finally told my landlady she needs to do something about it this time because I cannot afford to fight this again. This started in July, I told her in September she is just now beginning to take this seriously. There are many pigeons and birds in the complex because tenants are feeding them humanfood whcih they really are not meant to eat. They ae meant to eat seeds provided on trees which will keep thier immune systems functioning properly to avoid disease. The seeds on trees were provided specifically for that purpose.It is my opinion that htis is why the flea,lice andmite problems are becoming an epidemic. Thsi is probably where head lice and body lice originate and why the flea population is getting out of hand.Birds are suppossed to fly south for their food in the winter but with easy pickings they will not go anywhere and will find a warm place to nest in buildings if the buildings are not kept up with which seems to be part of the problem. I live in low income area and it has been getting neglected by the condominium association which I have been fighting with to fix the problems and this is now the proverbial straw that broke the camels back. I was in the process of seeking a lawyer on line when I came across this article and would appreciate the telelphone number of the lawyer. I have the Philadelphia Health Department involved with this and city counsels at large. As it stands I have not been able to rid myself of this yet and today I found out someone else in another apartment is invested also. I had asked the condominium association or actually the managment company that handles the apartments to send out a newsletter in September, warning the other tenants not to feed the birds and squirrels ,that a fine would be attached if done so. After calling several times about it with no results I was told it would go out 1st of Nov. As it stands now there has been no letter or interest in my problem from them and it is for this reason I was seeking counsel ;also the buildings have been in disrepair which has added to the problems. There is so much more I can say about this topic but hope this will be sufficient to let others know know why and how to partially deal with this nightmare. The most important aspect is to FIND THE SOURCE, or it will not go away. Moving is not an option once invested because it can be taken with you. If found you should not have it again but you cannot go by me as one can see. Good luck and prayers to anyone living with this.
27gigi27 Nov-24
Watch Video
1 2 3 4 5
Health News

New height/weight requirements bar some from participating in scouting events.

1 2
Top Stories
1 2 3 4 5
ABC News Features
1 2