Demodex Bacteria – could that be the cause ?

Written by on February 6, 2007 in Demodex Mites, What Causes Rosacea? with 4 Comments

Some more speculation about how rosacea might be linked in some way to demodex mites. So far there is no causative link – that is scientists cannot yet prove that demodex mites cause rosacea. The quest continues to find if there is a good provable link between the mites and rosacea. I remain sceptical until some good research is published.

Electron microscopic investigation into the possible etiology of rosacea and the implication for treatment, Richard Burroughs, MD, National Capital Consortium (Walter Reed Army Medical Center), Washington, DC, United States; Kurt Maggio, MD, Walter Reed Army Medical Center, Washington, DC, United States.

The presence of Demodex folliculorum has been implicated in the pathogenesis of rosacea, but never proven to be a causative agent. Most individuals in the general population have Demodex folliculorum present in their skin, yet only a fraction of the normal population develops rosacea.We hypothesize that cutaneous changes of rosacea are caused by an inflammatory response to intracellular bacteria within Demodex folliculorum. Candidate intracellular organisms include Wolbachia, other Rickettsia-like bacteria, g-proteobacteria, cytophaga-flavobacterium-bacteroides bacteria, and spiroplasmas.

Our poster depicts the first known complete electron microscopic cross-section of Demodex folliculorum. This mite was obtained from sebum expressed from the face of a patient with rosacea, then imaged with electronmicroscopy. Perfect for presentation, the poster is comprised of 24 separate electron micrographs which are pieced together digitally to depict the entire mite and its contents.

Inside Demodex there are several structures which have sizes consistent with intracellular bacteria and fungi for which we will perform PCR testing next summer. We presently have a grant from the National Rosacea Society for PCR and this poster depicts our preliminary microscopic investigation.

This poster will be the first publication of our preliminary results. Our aim is to accurately identify the intracellular organism that may be responsible for Rosacea and thereby improve medical treatment for this disease. The intracellular bacteria we are investigating are uniformly sensitive to tetracyclines. This might clarify rosacea’s favorable response to tetracycline.

Could the effects of antibiotics in rosacea be caused by their actions on intracellular bacteria of Demodex, rather than to a postulated anti-inflammatory mechanism? We believe so, and will demonstrate this in a first-of-its-kind poster.

Poster Abstract P516, American Academy of Dermatology, 65th Annual Meeting February 2-6, 2007, Washington, DC. Published in Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology Volume 56, Number 2.

Commercial support: None identified.

Also see the 2004 Press Release from the NRS titled New Study Shows Role for Bacteria in Development of Rosacea Symptoms.

In the National Rosacea Society-funded study, Dr. Kevin Kavanagh and colleagues at the National University of Ireland-Maynooth found that the bacterium Bacillus oleronius stimulated an immune system response, inducing high levels of T-cell proliferation, in 79 percent of patients with subtype 2 rosacea, compared with only 29 percent of patients without the disorder. T-cell proliferation induces an inflammatory response, evident as papules and pustules.

Dr. Kavanagh noted that the potential role for bacteria in causing papulopustular rosacea is supported by the fact that typical treatment for rosacea initially includes oral antibiotics that destroy B. oleronius. Interestingly, he said, antibiotics that are not harmful to these bacteria generally are not effective in the management of rosacea.

Moreover, the possibility that antigens may play a role in disease processes has been demonstrated in other disorders. For example, antigens produced by Streptococcus and Staphylococcus bacteria have been linked with such disorders as psoriasis, food poisoning and toxic shock syndrome.

Dr. Kavanagh and his colleagues are now developing antibodies against the antigen produced by B. oleronius to confirm its presence on the faces of patients with papulopustular rosacea and to define its relationship with Demodex mites.

See also Demodex Mite Bacteria causes Rosacea Inflammation ?

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About the Author: David Pascoe started the Rosacea Support Group in October 1998. .

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4 Reader Comments

  1. Tony Lyver says:

    I tried the Kwell shampoo for a week with rosasol cream as well and I have not had a flareup for a month. I did have some come up in places there was none before but I used the combination and I can even have a few drinks and I don’t light up like before…I can’t believe after having mild to medium rosacea for over 20 years I have it no more.
    I am doing the creams one a week for another month to make sure I got all the little buggers.

  2. James H says:

    I’ve had a strange reaction to the Kwellada lotion. My research showed there are potentially harsh reactions and lindane poisoning..

    However, i tried the Kwell for two weeks – two applications and also was clear after 20 years!

    How often are you using the Kwell shampoo?

  3. Thanks for your feedback Tony and James.

  4. Doug says:

    anything new on Dr. Kavanagh’s studies/trials? I dont think mites cause Rosacea but I do think they might aggrevate the heck out of it!

    i think an interesting study would be too test for SIBO and mites at the same time and see if people with Rosacea have both! My money is on that they do have both.

    then treat the SIBO but also increase Flora in the digestive system. At the same time, treat for the mites.

    would be very curious what the results would be!

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