Two siblings, 16 months and 5 years of age, came into contact with the urticating hairs (setae) of oak processionary caterpillars, the larvae of Thaumetopoea processionea L., when the family moved to a suburb of Vienna, where mass gradation of T. processionea had started the year before. The setae were being spread by the wind from an infested oak tree in the neighbourhood. Both children repeatedly suffered bouts of dermatitis during the 10 weeks of the larval development. Owing to the fact that T. processionea often infests oak trees, whether isolated or at the edges of forests, there is a high likelihood of people being affected. Children frequently explore their surroundings and are at an even greater risk of developing lepidopterism. Caterpillar dermatitis should therefore be taken into consideration in the differential diagnosis of a pruritic rash in infants from regions with caterpillar-infested trees, especially during the larval development of T. processionea.

Maksymov JK: Thaumetopoeidae, Prozessionsspinner; in Schwenke W (ed): Die Forstschädlinge Europas. Hamburg und Berlin, Parey, 1978, pp 391–404.
Tomiczek C, Krehan H: Gradation of oak processionary caterpillar and winter moth in Vienna City. Forstschutz Aktuell 1996;17/18:23.
Tomiczek C, Krehan H, Cech T, Perny B: Forstschutzsituation 1998 in Österreich. AFZ/Der Wald 1999;7:352–353.
Burns DA: Diseases caused by arthropods and other noxious animals: Butterflies and moths (Lepidoptera); in Champion RH, Burton JL, Ebling FJG (eds): Rook, Wilkinson, Ebling Textbook of Dermatology. Oxford, Blackwell Science, 1993, vol 2, pp 1292–1294.
Hellier FF, Warin RP: Caterpillar dermatitis. Br Med J 1967;2:346–348.
Schäfer H: Schwammspinner-Raupendermatitis. Akt Dermatol 1994;20:241–244.
Hesler LS, Logan TM, Benenson MW, Moser C: Acute dermatitis from oak processionary caterpillars in a US military community in Germany. Mil Med 1999;164:767–770.
Kontzog HG: Eichenprozessionsspinner, Thaumetopoea processionea L. AFZ/Der Wald 1998;16:868–869.
Offenberg K: The calamity of the oak processionary moth (Thaumetopoea processionea) during the last century. Forst Holz 2000;55:424–426.
Lamy M, Novak F, Duboscq MF, Ducombs G, Maleville J: La chenille processionaire du chêne (Thaumetopoea processionea L.) et l’homme: appareil urticant et mode d’action. Ann Dermatol Vénéréol 1988;115:1023–1032.
Lamy M: Contact dermatitis (erucism) produced by processionary caterpillars (genus Thaumetopoea). J Appl Entomol 1990;110:425–437.
Werno J, Lamy M, Vincendeau P: Caterpillar hairs as allergens. Lancet 1993;342:936–937.
Vega JM, Moneo I, Armentia A, Fernandez A, Vega J, De la Fuentes R, Sanchez P, Sanchis ME: Allergy to the pine processionary caterpillar (Thaumetopoea pityocampa). Clin Exp Allergy 1999;29:1418–1423.
Vega JM, Moneo I, Armentia A, Vega J, de la Fuente R, Fernandez A: Pine processionary caterpillar as a new cause of immunologic contact urticaria. Contact Dermatitis 2000;43:129–132.
Moneo I, Vega JM, Caballero ML, Vega J, Alday E: Isolation and characterization of Tha p 1, a major allergen from the pine processionary caterpillar Thaumetopoea pityocampa. Allergy 2003;58:34–37.
Rosen T: Caterpillar dermatitis. Dermatol Clin 1990;8:245–252.
Warner MR, Taylor JS, Leow Y: Agents causing contact urticaria. Clin Dermatol 1997;15:623–635.
Vega JM, Moneo I, Armentia A, Lopez-Rico R, Curiel G, Bartolome B, Fernandez A: Anaphylaxis to a pine caterpillar. Allergy 1997;52:1244–1248.
Boosma AH, Jans HW: A severe anaphylactic shock caused by spraying the oak processionary caterpillar (Thaumetopoea processionea) in North Brabant. Ned Tjdschr Geneeskd 1998;142:1567–1569.
Copyright / Drug Dosage / Disclaimer
Copyright: All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be translated into other languages, reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, microcopying, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher.
Drug Dosage: The authors and the publisher have exerted every effort to ensure that drug selection and dosage set forth in this text are in accord with current recommendations and practice at the time of publication. However, in view of ongoing research, changes in government regulations, and the constant flow of information relating to drug therapy and drug reactions, the reader is urged to check the package insert for each drug for any changes in indications and dosage and for added warnings and precautions. This is particularly important when the recommended agent is a new and/or infrequently employed drug.
Disclaimer: The statements, opinions and data contained in this publication are solely those of the individual authors and contributors and not of the publishers and the editor(s). The appearance of advertisements or/and product references in the publication is not a warranty, endorsement, or approval of the products or services advertised or of their effectiveness, quality or safety. The publisher and the editor(s) disclaim responsibility for any injury to persons or property resulting from any ideas, methods, instructions or products referred to in the content or advertisements.
You do not currently have access to this content.