Discover the most talked about and latest scientific content & concepts.

Concept: Head louse


Pediculosis capitis is a worldwide health problem. One of the most important factor in effective head lice eradication is to ensure that infestation is adequately recognized and treated. Our survey investigated the knowledge and practice among primary care Italian pediatricians regarding to the prevention and treatment of head lice.

Concepts: Health care, Public health, Head louse, Pediculosis, Body louse, Louse, Treatment of human head lice, Head-louse infestation


Plague, caused by the bacterium Yersinia pestis, can spread through human populations by multiple transmission pathways. Today, most human plague cases are bubonic, caused by spillover of infected fleas from rodent epizootics, or pneumonic, caused by inhalation of infectious droplets. However, little is known about the historical spread of plague in Europe during the Second Pandemic (14-19th centuries), including the Black Death, which led to high mortality and recurrent epidemics for hundreds of years. Several studies have suggested that human ectoparasite vectors, such as human fleas (Pulex irritans) or body lice (Pediculus humanus humanus), caused the rapidly spreading epidemics. Here, we describe a compartmental model for plague transmission by a human ectoparasite vector. Using Bayesian inference, we found that this model fits mortality curves from nine outbreaks in Europe better than models for pneumonic or rodent transmission. Our results support that human ectoparasites were primary vectors for plague during the Second Pandemic, including the Black Death (1346-1353), ultimately challenging the assumption that plague in Europe was predominantly spread by rats.

Concepts: Infectious disease, Pandemic, Yersinia pestis, Bubonic plague, Black Death, Plague, World population, Head louse


Pediculosis is a prevalent parasitic infestation of humans, which is increasing due, in part, to the selection of lice resistant to either the pyrethrins or pyrethroid insecticides by the knockdown resistance (kdr) mechanism. To determine the extent and magnitude of thekdr-type mutations responsible for this resistance, lice were collected from 138 collection sites in 48 U.S. states from 22 July 2013 to 11 May 2015 and analyzed by quantitative sequencing. Previously published data were used for comparisons of the changes in the frequency of thekdr-type mutations over time. Mean percent resistance allele frequency (mean % RAF) values across the three mutation loci were determined from each collection site. The overall mean % RAF (±SD) for all analyzed lice was 98.3 ± 10%. 132/138 sites (95.6%) had a mean % RAF of 100%, five sites (3.7%) had intermediate values, and only a single site had no mutations (0.0%). Forty-two states (88%) had a mean % RAF of 100%. The frequencies ofkdr-type mutations did not differ regardless of the human population size that the lice were collected from, indicating a uniformly high level of resistant alleles. The loss of efficacy of the Nix formulation (Prestige Brand, Tarrytown, NY) from 1998 to 2013 was correlated to the increase inkdr-type mutations. These data provide a plausible reason for the decrease in the effectiveness of permethrin in the Nix formulation, which is the parallel increase ofkdr-type mutations in lice over time.

Concepts: Evolution, United States, U.S. state, Pyrethroid, Head louse, Pediculosis, Body louse, Louse


Head lice infestation, a worldwide head infestation caused Pediculus humanus capitis De Geer, is an important public health problem in Thailand. Several chemical pediculicides have lost in efficacy due to increasing resistance of lice against insecticide. Therefore, non-toxic alternative products, such as natural products from plants, e.g. plant extract pediculicides, are needed for head lice control. The aims of this study were to evaluate the potential of pediculicidal activity of herbal shampoo base on three species of Thai local plants (Accacia concinna (Willd.) DC, Averrhoa bilimbi Linn. and Tamarindus indica Linn.) against head lice and to compare them with carbaryl shampoo (Hafif shampoo®; 0.6 % w/v carbaryl) and non-treatment control in order to assess their in vitro. Doses of 0.12 and 0.25 ml/cm(2) of each herbal shampoo were applied to filter paper, and ten head lice were place on the filter paper. The mortalities of head lice on the filter paper were recorded at 1, 5, 10, 30 and 60 min by sterio-microscope. All herbal shampoos at 0.25 ml/cm(2) were more effective pediculicide than carbaryl shampoo with 100 % mortality at 5 min. The median lethal time (LT(50)) of all herbal shampoos at 0.25 ml/cm(2) showed no significant differences over at 0.12 ml/cm(2) (P < 0.01). The most effective pediculicide was T. indica extract shampoo, followed by Av. bilimbi extract shampoo and Ac. concinna extract shampoo, with LT(50) values <1.0 min. Our data showed that all herbal shampoos have high potential of pediculicide to head lice treatments for schoolchildren.

Concepts: Head louse, Pediculosis, Body louse, Louse, Lice, Crab louse, Treatment of human head lice, Averrhoa bilimbi


Head lice infestation is still a public health problem worldwide, with an intracountry and intercountry prevalence variation of 0.7 to 59 %. There is a large variety of over-the-counter anti-louse products, but their efficacy is not always well assessed. Our objective was to test the pediculicidal and ovicidal efficacy of 21 over-the-counter head louse products, available in France during the period of 2008 to 2012. We tested children living in Tours City in central France and visiting preschools, primary schools, kindergarten, camps, and child care facilities, as well as children in their family houses, and were examined for the presence of lice. The products were collected from randomly selected pharmacies by covert investigators and then tested in the laboratory on an ex vivo sample of head lice and their eggs, collected from the hair of infested children. Living lice and unharmed eggs were collected from the scalps of 3-12 years old. The laboratory conditions for ex vivo testing mimicked the manufacturers' instructions for exposure time and application method. In 21 runs, 3919 living lice and 4321 undamaged living eggs were collected from the scalp of over 400 children. The 21 products were classified in three groups: 6 products in a group of potentially 100 % pediculicidal activity and potentially 100 % ovicidal activity, 8 products in a group of potentially 100 % pediculicidal activity but insufficient ovicidal activity (including 2 products with claims of single application treatment), and 7 products in a group of insufficient pediculicidal activity and ovicidal activity. The pharmaceutical market for head lice products in France is swamped with poorly tested and ineffective products. Rigorous efficacy testing preregistration and periodic screening and testing of effectiveness in the post-registration period should be endorsed by the health authorities.

Concepts: Head louse, Pediculosis, Body louse, Louse, Lice, Crab louse, Treatment of human head lice, Head lice


Pediculosis is a frequent public health problem. The pattern and prevalence of Pediculosis is dependent on many socio-demographic and economic factors. It is common in schoolchildren especially primary level; it may affect their learning performance. This study aimed to determine the prevalence of head louse among primary students, in Fayoum and Bagor districts, and explore the predisposing factors of head louse infestation in both public and private schools. The study was a cross-sectional descriptive study, conducted in two governorates: Fayoum and Minofiya governorates which represent upper and lower Egypt respectively during the academic year of 2012-2013. The students were selected from different grades with a total of 10,935 students. The prevalence of head lice in the study group was 16.7 %. The incidence was higher in public schools 20.7 % than private schools 9.04 % and in girls 25.8 % more than boys, especially covered hair girls 6.2 %. There was a socio-demographic influence of louse infestation on residence, presence of water supply, number of house rooms, and number of family member. It is concluded that head lice are a common childhood problem related to poor hygiene and socioeconomic status. There is a need for collaboration effort between family, school, community, and media, to create an environment that establishes healthy behaviors and health promotion.

Concepts: Epidemiology, Primary education, Head louse, Pediculosis, Body louse, Louse, Crab louse, Head-louse infestation


Head lice infestation (or pediculosis) is an important public health problem in Thailand, especially in children between the ages 5 and 11 years. Head lice resistance is increasing, chemical pediculicides have lost their efficacy, and, therefore, alternative pediculicides such as herbal shampoos have been proposed to treat head lice infestation. Thus, the present study investigated the efficacy of three herbal shampoos based on native plants in Thailand (Acorus calamus Linn., Phyllanthus emblica Linn., and Zanthoxylum limonella Alston) against head lice and compared them with carbaryl shampoo (Hafif shampoo®, 0.6 % w/v carbaryl), malathion shampoo (A-Lice shampoo®, 1.0 % w/v malathion), and commercial shampoos (Babi Mild Natural' N Mild® and Johnson’s baby shampoo®) in order to assess their in vitro and in vivo efficacy. For in vitro study, doses of 0.12 and 0.25 ml/cm(2) of each herbal shampoo were applied to filter paper, then 10 head lice were place on the filter paper. The mortalities of head lice were recorded at 5, 15, 30, and 60 min. The results revealed that all herbal shampoo were more effective on pediculicidal activity than chemical and commercial shampoos with 100 % mortality at 15 min; LT50 values ranged from 0.25 to 1.90 min. Meanwhile, chemical shampoos caused 20-80 % mortality, and LT50 values ranged from 6.50 to 85.43 min. On the other side, commercial shampoos showed 4.0 % mortality. The most effective pediculicide was Z. limonella shampoo, followed by A. calamus shampoo, P. emblica shampoo, carbaryl shampoo, malathion shampoo, and commercial shampoo, respectively. In vivo results showed that all herbal shampoos were also more effective for head lice treatment than chemical and commercial shampoos with 94.67-97.68 % of cure rate after the first treatment; the second treatment, 7 days later, revealed that the cure rate was 100 %. Meanwhile, chemical shampoo showed 71.67-93.0 % of cure rate and, unfortunately, commercial shampoos were nontoxic to head lice and showed 0 % of cure rate after the first and the second treatments. Our data showed that three herbal shampoos of native plants in Thailand in this study are suitable to be used as pediculicides for Thai children since it is safe for children and there is no side-effect after application.

Concepts: In vitro, Head louse, Pediculosis, Body louse, Louse, Crab louse, Treatment of human head lice, Sweet Flag


An 11-year-old child presented with poor school attendance, and signs and symptoms of severe anaemia. He was heavily covered in lice. He was investigated for other causes of anaemia. Following treatment for head lice and also iron supplementation, he was back in full-time education. This case highlights the link between head lice (pediculosis capitis) infestation and iron-deficiency anaemia.

Concepts: Bleeding, Iron deficiency anemia, The Link REIT, Teacher, Head louse, Pediculosis, Body louse, Louse


Chemical, physical, and mechanical methods are used to control human lice. Attempts have been made to eradicate head lice Pediculus humanus capitis by hot air, soaking in various fluids or asphyxiation using occlusive treatments. In this study, we assessed the maximum time that head lice can survive anoxia (oxygen deprivation) and their ability to survive prolonged water immersion. We also observed the ingress of fluids across louse tracheae and spiracle characteristics contrasting with those described in the literature. We showed that 100% of lice can withstand 8 h of anoxia and 12.2% survived 14 h of anoxia; survival was 48.9% in the untreated control group at 14 h. However, all lice had died following 16 h of anoxia. In contrast, the survival rate of water-immersed lice was significantly higher when compared with non-immersed lice after 6 h (100% vs. 76.6%, p = 0.0037), and 24 h (50.9% vs. 15.9%, p = 0.0003). Although water-immersed lice did not close their spiracles, water did not penetrate into the respiratory system. In contrast, immersion in colored dimeticone/cyclomethicone or colored ethanol resulted in penetration through the spiracles and spreading to the entire respiratory system within 30 min, leading to death in 100% of the lice.

Concepts: Head louse, Louse


Understanding the evolution of parasites is important to both basic and applied evolutionary biology. Knowledge of the genetic structure of parasite populations is critical for our ability to predict how an infection can spread through a host population and for the design of effective control methods. However, very little is known about the genetic structure of most human parasites, including the human louse (). This species is composed of two ecotypes: the head louse ( De Geer), and the clothing (body) louse ( Linnaeus). Hundreds of millions of head louse infestations affect children every year, and this number is on the rise, in part because of increased resistance to insecticides. Clothing lice affect mostly homeless and refugee-camp populations and although they are less prevalent than head lice, the medical consequences are more severe because they vector deadly bacterial pathogens. In this study we present the first assessment of the genetic structure of human louse populations by analyzing the nuclear genetic variation at 15 newly developed microsatellite loci in 93 human lice from 11 sites in four world regions. Both ecotypes showed heterozygote deficits relative to Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium and high inbreeding values, an expected pattern given their parasitic life history. Bayesian clustering analyses assigned lice to four distinct genetic clusters that were geographically structured. The low levels of gene flow among louse populations suggested that the evolution of insecticide resistance in lice would most likely be affected by local selection pressures, underscoring the importance of tailoring control strategies to population-specific genetic makeup and evolutionary history. Our panel of microsatellite markers provides powerful data to investigate not only ecological and evolutionary processes in lice, but also those in their human hosts because of the long-term coevolutionary association between lice and humans.

Concepts: Evolution, Population genetics, Head louse