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Is Hair Lice Still a Public Health Problem?

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      Pediculosis capitis: new insights into epidemiology, diagnosis and treatment.

       H Feldmeier (2012)
      Pediculosis capitis is a ubiquitous parasitic skin disease caused by Pediculus humanus capitis. Head lice are highly specialised parasites which can propagate only on human scalp and hair. Transmission occurs by direct head-to-head contact. Head lice are vectors of important bacterial pathogens. Pediculosis capitis usually occurs in small epidemics in play groups, kindergartens and schools. Population-based studies in European countries show highly diverging prevalences, ranging from 1% to 20%. The diagnosis of head lice infestation is made through the visual inspection of hair and scalp or dry/wet combing. The optimal method for the diagnosis of active head lice infestation is dry/wet combing. Topical application of a pediculicide is the most common treatment. Compounds with a neurotoxic mode of action are widely used but are becoming less effective due to resistant parasite populations. Besides, their use is restricted by safety concerns. Dimeticones, silicone oils with a low surface tension and the propensity to perfectly coat surfaces, have a purely physical mode of action. This group of compounds is highly effective and safe, and there is no risk that head lice become resistant. The control of epidemics requires active contact tracing and synchronised treatment with an effective and safe pediculicide.
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        Pediculosis capitis.

        Pediculosis capitis is a worldwide public health concern. Infestation occurs most commonly in children, with a peak incidence between 5 to 11 years of age. The condition is more common in girls and less common in Black children. Direct head-to-head contact is the most common mode of transmission. Pruritus is the most common symptom of infestation. The gold standard for diagnosing pediculosis capitis is finding a live louse or nymph in the scalp or viable egg in the scalp hair. Pediculicides are the most effective treatment. All household members and close contacts should be examined and treated concurrently if infested. The child should be allowed to return to school or to a child care facility after proper treatment. The child should be discouraged from close, direct head contact with others or from sharing items that have come in contact with the hair.
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          An incurable itch: head lice.

          Head lice infestations continue to be seen frequently in many communities. Some of these children require multiple treatments before eradication. What are the current treatment recommendations for head lice? Head lice (Pediculus humanus capitis) infestations are common, particularly among school-aged children. In order to minimize louse resistance, insecticide usage, and social stigmatization, diagnosis and treatment should be limited to those with live lice on the scalp. Options for management are predominantly topical therapies or physical removal. Large studies comparing the efficacy of these treatments are lacking. Treatment should be repeated in approximately 7 days if topical insecticides are used or every 2 to 3 days for 2 weeks if wet combing is used. Lice resistance patterns vary widely geographically, and resistance is now the most common cause of treatment failure.
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            Author and article information

            Affiliations
            [1. ] Dept. of Parasitology, Faculty of Medical Sciences, Tarbiat Modares University, Tehran, Iran
            [2. ] Dept. of Laboratory Sciences, Faculty of Paramedicine, Tabriz University of Medical Sciences, Tabriz, Iran
            [3. ] Biotechnology Research Center, Tabriz University of Medical Sciences, Tabriz, Iran
            [4. ] Faculty of Paramedicine, Tabriz University of Medical Sciences, Tabriz, Iran
            [5. ] Drug Applied Research Center, Tabriz University of Medical Sciences, Tabriz, Iran
            Author notes
            [* ] Corresponding Author: Email: Behroz.mahdavi@ 123456gmail.com
            Journal
            Iran J Public Health
            Iran. J. Public Health
            IJPH
            IJPH
            Iranian Journal of Public Health
            Tehran University of Medical Sciences
            2251-6085
            2251-6093
            December 2016
            : 45
            : 12
            : 1671-1672
            5207115
            ijph-45-1671
            Copyright© Iranian Public Health Association & Tehran University of Medical Sciences

            This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License which allows users to read, copy, distribute and make derivative works for non-commercial purposes from the material, as long as the author of the original work is cited properly.

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            Letter to the Editor

            Public health

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