History of Caripito

Caripito itch, a pruritic dermatosis rarely seen in the United States, is caused by contact with moths of the genus Hylesia--specifically, with urticating abdominal hairs of the adult female moth. The purpose of this study was to investigate an outbreak of Caripito itch that occurred in thirty-four of thirty-five crew members of a British oil tanker who were exposed to Hylesia moths at the port of Caripito, Venezuela. Methods of investigation included general history and physical examination of all crew members, complete inspection of the ship, transparent-tape slide preparations from involved skin, cutaneous histopathologic studies, and entomologic examination of the moths. The patients had a typical papulourticarial eruption, primarily on exposed surfaces. Although Hylesia moths do not occur in the United States, primary care physicians and dermatologists, especially those located in port cities, should be aware of cutaneous lepidopterism caused by Hylesia moths