Lice Infestations

  • O. Brandt


There are three different lice which may affect humans. Only one is a major problem in pediatrics. The head louse, Pediculus humanus capitis, can involve individuals of all ages and social strata. The prevalence is 1–3% in industrialized countries. Transmission is usually by direct head-to-head contact, which explains why most patients are children between 3 and 11 years of age. Shared combs, brushes, headgear and pillows can also lead to infestation. In contrast, pets do not play a role in the transmission of head lice. Hair length and hair color play no role. There are seasonal variations in the prevalence. In Europe, the winter months show the highest rates. Occasionally epidemics are seen in kindergartens and schools. The head louse does not transmit any infectious diseases.


Head Louse Hair Length Louse Infestation Body Louse Benzene Hexachloride 
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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2003

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  • O. Brandt

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