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Eur J Epidemiol. 2004;19(5):491-5.

Pediculosis capitis among schoolchildren in urban and rural areas of eastern Poland.

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Department of Biology and Parasitology, Medical University, Lublin, Poland.


The objective of this study was to compare the prevalence of head pediculosis in the rural and urban environments of Lublin Province (eastern Poland) in 1996-2000 and to examine socioeconomic factors influencing distribution among schoolchildren. A total of 95,153 schoolchildren living in urban and rural areas were examined twice yearly by school nurses. The overall rate of head pediculosis differs significantly between rural (1.59%) and urban (0.48%) schools in eastern Poland. Children between 8 and 12 years old were most frequently infested. Pediculosis was observed most frequently in girls both in the urban (63.5%) and rural (75.3%) schools and this was related with hairstyles. The prevalence of pediculosis decreased with increasing life standards, i.e. with high income, accessibility and consumption of water and better health care systems. Our findings showed that prevalence of pediculosis capitis depends on the age and sex of the schoolchildren and their living conditions. Hygienic controls of schoolchildren by nurses are important in the elimination of Pediculus humanus capitis. Our results confirmed pediculosis capitis is still a problem in different environments, particularly with lower life standards and poorer economic conditions of health care.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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