• E. Tsoureli-Nikita
  • G. Campanile
  • G. Hautmann
  • J. Hercogova


Pediculosis is an ubiquitous, contagious and debilitating skin dermatosis. It is an epizoonose, caused by parasites living on the skin surface. Pediculosis is caused by insects of the order Anoplura and, although only two species (Phthirius pubis and Pediculus humanus) are host-specific parasites of humans, three clinical forms of infestation exist concerning head, body and pubic area. The incidence of infestation varies from 5% to 30% in certain populations. Children and long-haired people are most likely to become infested. The transmission takes place from person to person and it is favoured by poor personal hygiene and by living in closed communities. Clusters of infestation occur, e.g. affecting patients and staff in hospitals, nursing homes for the elderly, schoolchildren or homeless people, since P. capitis may be transmitted by shared hats, caps, brushes, combs and even pillows. Associations with other disorders are common, e.g. pediculosis can be often associated with trench fever or exanthematous typhus.


Homeless People Pubic Hair Hair Shaft Head Louse Tinea Capitis 
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Further reading

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • E. Tsoureli-Nikita
  • G. Campanile
  • G. Hautmann
  • J. Hercogova

There are no affiliations available

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