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Epidemiol Infect. 1999 Jun;122(3):471-7.

The epidemiology of head lice and scabies in the UK.

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  • 1Department of Dermatology, University of Bristol, UK.

Abstract

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.

PMID:
10459652
PMCID:
PMC2809643
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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