Gene splicing in lice and the challenge of clothing

A terrific article recently published in Molecular Biology and Evolution, "Alternative Splice in Alternative Lice," provides a compelling example of maximizing genome information – adaptation of the louse Pediculus humanus ...

Head and body lice read DNA differently

What makes head lice different from body lice had scientists scratching their heads as previous genetic studies failed to find any substantial differences between the two types of lice.

Essential oils to fight superbugs

Essential oils could be a cheap and effective alternative to antibiotics and potentially used to combat drug-resistant hospital superbugs, according to research presented at the Society for General Microbiology's spring meeting ...

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Head-louse infestation

Head-louse infestation or head lice (also referred to colloquially in British, Irish, and Australian English as nits) is a human medical condition caused by the colonization of the hair and skin by the parasitic insect Pediculus humanus capitis—the head louse. Typically, only the head or scalp of the host is infested, although the disease can occur in other hairy parts of the body, like leg hairs. Head lice feed on human blood (hematophagy), and itching from louse bites is a common symptom of this condition. Treatment typically includes application of topical insecticides such as a pyrethrin or permethrin, although a variety of folk remedies are also common.

Lice infestation in general is known as pediculosis, and occurs in many mammalian and bird species. The term pediculosis capitis, or simply "pediculosis", is sometimes used to refer to the specific human pediculosis due to P. humanus capitis (i.e., head-louse infestation). Humans are hosts for two other lice as well—the body louse and the crab louse.

Head-louse infestation is widely endemic, especially in children. It is a cause of some concern in public health, although, unlike human body lice, head lice are not carriers of other infectious diseases.

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