“What is this larva I found on my daughter’s windowsill?” asks this reader from Chicago about the transparent, long creature pictured below. “If it helps there’s also some kind of nest outside the window (at the top left) and pigeons sit out there often.”
“We cannot get them to stop hanging out, because our neighbors feed them”, she continues, describing the pigeon situation in more detail. “Additionally, I’m not sure if it is connected to what we’ve found on the window, but my daughter seems to be infested with some type of bug or larva on her scalp, butt, and around her gastrostomy tube! We’ve treated her for many typical ectoparasites and medical doctors and lice professionals have ruled out scabies, lice and crabs, pinworms and don’t know what it could be.”
“We currently await an infectious disease appointment for her. I’m not asking for any diagnosis, but more like: is it possible, from what I’ve shared from the window photos, that there are bird lice or mites on the window? That might be something we can bring up with ID if we knew a little more about what we were fighting in the environment here. Thanks in advance for any help you can provide in recognizing what this is on the window.”
Firstly, our reader is right to not ask for a diagnosis, as we cannot provide those in any case: we are not medical professionals. However, it is understandable that she wishes to know if the pigeons might be related to the appearance of these clear organisms on the window sill, and to answer that question, they might be. Pigeons have been known to carry bird mites, though they do look quite a bit different than the organisms pictured below (as do lice).
Of course, in some of the photos, especially those taken further away from the sill, we are not entirely sure what it is we are meant to be looking at. In a couple of them, there are a lot of little, round black dots that could just be dirt or mold, but if those are organisms (and if our reader is implying that), then those might very well be bird mites. Naturally, our reader should not interpret this as a suggestion that they are indeed related to her daughter’s medical issue: we would not be able to make that sort of claim.
All that we are saying is that it is possible that these are related to the pigeons. Our recommendation is that the window sill gets cleaned very often, any time these organisms show up.
Additionally, although our reader has already mentioned that her daughter is awaiting her appointment with an infectious disease physician, we thought we might as well still list the resources we tend to recommend to those worried about parasites, just in case they wish to go somewhere else or seek a second opinion. Or in the case that any of our other readers might benefit from having access to the same resources.
So, what we can recommend for any reader that is worried about parasites is that they do one or more of the following:
1) Search for a medical parasitologist in their area using this directory of medical parasitology consultants: https://www.astmh.org/for-astmh-members/clinical-consultants-directory.
2) Search for a local parasitologist by doing a Google search for “medical parasitologist (name of the closest big city)” or “tropical medicine specialist (name of the closest big city)”.
3) Get in touch with Dr. Omar Amin at the Parasitology Center at https://www.parasitetesting.com.
4) Contact Dr. Vipul Savaliya of Infectious Disease Care (“IDCare”) at idcarepa.com.
We should note that both Dr. Amin and Dr. Savaliya are available for online consultation, so our reader does not need to be in the vicinity of their physical offices to get help!
To conclude, it is definitely possible that the loitering pigeons are harboring bugs on their feathers, and maybe those are bird mites. That said, we do not know what the longer, transparent creatures are, and we are not qualified to suggest if this is related to her daughter’s medical issue. We suggest that our reader show all the same pictures, and give all the same context, to whichever physician she ends up consulting with her daughter; she is right in suggesting that any such information can help the physician identify the issue. We hope this article helps and we wish her and her daughter the very best!