The epidemiology of head lice and scabies in the UK.
Anecdotal evidence suggests that the prevalence of both scabies and head lice is increasing and also that both conditions are becoming refractory to pesticide treatment. Using information obtained from the Office of National Statistics, Royal College of General Practitioners Weekly Returns Service, Department of Health, local surveys of school children from Bristol and drug sales of insecticides, we have confirmed that there has been a rise in the prevalence of both conditions. We have shown that scabies is significantly more prevalent in urbanized areas (P < 0.00001), north of the country (P < 0.000001), in children and women (P < 0.000001) and commoner in the winter compared to the summer. Scabies was also shown to have a cyclical rise in incidence roughly every 20 years. Head lice were shown to be significantly more prevalent in children and mothers (P < 0.000001) though both conditions were seen in all age groups. Head lice were also less common during the summer. Host behaviour patterns, asymptomatic carriage, drug resistance and tourism from countries or districts with a higher incidence may be important factors in the currently high prevalence of both scabies and head lice. (+info)
Infestation status of head louse and treatment with lindane shampoo in children of primary school and kindergarten in Chinju-shi, Kyongsangnam-do, Korea.
The infestation status of head louse among children attending primary schools and kindergartens in Chinju-shi, Kyongsangnam-do, Korea, was investigated between June and July 1999. Out of 2,288 children examined, 3.9% of boys (48/1,242) and 23.5% of girls (246/1,046) were infested with nits or adult/nymphs of lice. The effectiveness of lindane shampoo (1% gamma benzene hexachloride solution) was evaluated after one or two time applications to all the children infested. The negative conversion rate of pediculosis was 93.5%. Effective control measures are needed to control and prevent such ectoparasite infestation amongst children. (+info)
Arbovirus of marine mammals: a new alphavirus isolated from the elephant seal louse, Lepidophthirus macrorhini.
A novel alphavirus was isolated from the louse Lepidophthirus macrorhini, collected from southern elephant seals, Mirounga leonina, on Macquarie Island, Australia. The virus displayed classic alphavirus ultrastructure and appeared to be serologically different from known Australasian alphaviruses. Nearly all Macquarie Island elephant seals tested had neutralizing antibodies against the virus, but no virus-associated pathology has been identified. Antarctic Division personnel who have worked extensively with elephant seals showed no serological evidence of exposure to the virus. Sequence analysis illustrated that the southern elephant seal (SES) virus segregates with the Semliki Forest group of Australasian alphaviruses. Phylogenetic analysis of known alphaviruses suggests that alphaviruses might be grouped according to their enzootic vertebrate host class. The SES virus represents the first arbovirus of marine mammals and illustrates that alphaviruses can inhabit Antarctica and that alphaviruses can be transmitted by lice. (+info)
Prevalence of sucking and chewing lice on cattle entering feedlots in southern Alberta.
Beef calves from 2 sources entering southern Alberta feedlots in the winters of 1997-98 and 1998-99, were surveyed for the presence of lice. A random sample of multiple source (MS), that is, auction market-derived, calves entering commercial feedlots and single source (SS) calves entering a backgrounding feedlot were examined for the presence of lice at entry to the feedlot. A standardized examination, which involved hair-part examination of 8 louse predilection sites, was conducted on each selected calf to determine prevalence and intensity of infestation. The long-nosed sucking louse, Linognathus vituli, was the most commonly encountered species. This species infested from 57.8% to 95.6% of the calves selected from both MS and SS calves during both winters. Louse index values, indicating intensity of infestation, for L. vituli ranged from 1 to 243 lice per animal. The chewing louse, Bovicola bovis, was present on MS and SS calves only in the winter of 1998-99. The louse index values for B. bovis ranged from 1 to 230 lice per animal. Mixed infestations of the L. vituli and B. bovis were common. The little blue cattle louse, Solenopotes capillatus, was present only on the SS calves in the winter of 1997-98. The short-nosed sucking louse, Haematopinus eurysternus, was present at very low intensities, 1-2 lice per animal, on 2.6% to 4.4% of the MS calves during both winters. Comparison of results from the current study with published literature suggests that efforts to determine the economic impact of louse infestations are confounded by the lack of a uniform method to assess louse population levels. (+info)
The role of community pharmacists in prescribing medication for the treatment of head lice.
BACKGROUND: The aim of the study was to discover whether the use of community pharmacy, rather than general practice, as the first port of call for suspected head lice infestation would represent an acceptable, effective and cost-reducing means of management in the community. METHODS: A before-and-after study was carried out of a new system of care delivery. Between September and November 1997, pharmacists in Nottingham City West recorded details of all patients attending with prescriptions for head lice treatment or those purchasing over-the-counter medication. The new system of care delivery began in January 1998, during which, pharmacists were providing advice and treatment for head lice, in the absence of a referral from general practice. Changes in prescribing behaviour were assessed from Prescribing Analysis and Cost (PACT) data. Acceptability and subjective assessment of the scheme (patients and professionals) was gauged from questionnaires. RESULTS: Referral patterns were altered drastically (away from general practice and towards self-referral) by the project, and the changes were apparent within the first month. This trend continued throughout and beyond the formal evaluation period. Cost analysis suggests that the community pharmacy scheme generates resource savings, largely driven by the lower cost of a pharmacy consultation, as opposed to a GP consultation. Questionnaire evidence suggests that both patients and health care professionals viewed the new arrangement as at least as acceptable as the old. CONCLUSION: With respect to the original objective, the new delivery system appears to provide no evidence of ineffectiveness; evidence of acceptability on the part of the majority of patients and professionals; and evidence of improved cost-effectiveness. (+info)
Morphology of the leather defect light flecks and spots.
The skin histology and the scanning electron microscope morphology of the hide defect light flecks and spots after tanning were studied in 11 steers infested with biting lice (Damalinia bovis). Nine steers from herds free of lice were used as controls. Skin biopsies from 6 of the animals in the lice infested group showed mild to moderate hyperkeratosis and moderate perivascular to diffuse dermatitis with infiltration of mainly mononuclear cells and some eosinophilic granulocytes. The steers were slaughtered at an age of 18 to 23 months. Light flecks and spots occurred on all examined hides from the infested group after tanning. No examined hides from the control group demonstrated similar damage. Both light microscopic examination of sections of tanned hide with light flecks and spots and scanning electron microscopy of the same defects showed superficial grain loss and craters with a irregular fibre base encircled by smooth and intact grain. The association between louse infestation at an early age and damage of hides following slaughter 6 to 15 months later, suggested that louse infestations lead to a prolonged or lifelong weakening in the dermis. This weakening may cause superficial grain loss during the tanning process. (+info)
Eradication of lice in cattle.
The purpose of this field study was to develop and evaluate eradication as a strategy to control lice in cattle. Thirty-three herds of cattle were selected and observed during a period of two and a half years. Before eradication, biting lice (Damalinia bovis) were present in 94% of the herds and 27% of the animals. Sucking lice (Linognathus vituli) were present in 42% of the herds and 5% of the animals. These levels were very similar to those reported from other countries in Northern Europe. The eradication strategy was successful in 28 of 33 herds, but lice were still present in 5 herds 3 to 6 months after treatment. Biting lice were present in all these 5 herds, sucking lice were present in 3 herds. During the next 12 months, nine of the 28 herds were reinfected with lice. Six herds were reinfected with just biting lice, 2 herds with just sucking lice and one herd was reinfected with both. There was no significant difference between the 2 louse species regarding the risk of unsuccessful eradication or reinfection. The only significant risk factor for reinfection was either purchase of livestock or use of common pasture, combined with failure in pre-treatment of newly introduced animals. (+info)
Variation in the level of grain defect light flecks and spots on cattle hides.
The occurrence of hide damage light flecks and spots was determined on tanned hides from 28 herds during a period of 8 to 12 months. Light flecks and spots are described as small areas of grain loss up to 3 mm in diameter that are seen on dyed crust cattle leather. Damage was found on 75.8% of all hides. The neck and shoulders were the anatomical region with the highest prevalence of damage. Sixty-eight per cent of all hides had light flecks and spots in this region. The forelimbs and dewlap were the anatomical region with the second highest occurrence with a prevalence of 39.1%. This distribution corresponded to the known distribution of lice in cattle. No significant differences were observed in age, sex, prevalence of lice in the herd assessed in March or infestations with different lice species. The frequency of light flecks and spots varied significantly during the year. The frequency was highest in the late winter and early spring, decreased significantly during the summer and was lowest in the autumn. This variation supported the importance of lice in the development of light flecks and spots and suggested a relatively long healing period for the damages induced by lice. (+info)