Why Are Head Lice Not Extinct?

Head lice are common, and a serious nuisance. They affect between six and twelve million people a year in the United States. Despite the recent advances in treatment, the problem is not yet solved. In fact, lice are becoming more resistant to over-the-counter solutions, and the current epidemic may get worse over time.

This outbreak was especially devastating because it struck vulnerable children and school workers. The closure of many schools has reduced the number of louse-infested children, though 98.7% of schools should be back in business by September 2020. However, close contact between young children is not enough to prevent louse transmission. According to the British Association of Dermatology, it only takes 30 seconds for one louse to infect a child.

The best way to determine if you have head lice is to examine the area with a fine-toothed comb. The comb should be inserted through the hair, down to the scalp. Look for eggs that are laying in the hair. If the head lice are present, you should treat them.

The prevalence of head louse infestations varies widely, but is still common throughout the world. People of all ages and different socioeconomic backgrounds are susceptible. A study from Benghazi, Libya, showed a prevalence of nearly 50% in one school. In the United States, it is estimated that six to twelve million people are infested annually. Most victims of head louse are children and schoolchildren.

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