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J Am Acad Dermatol. 2007 Jun;56(6):1044-7. Epub 2006 Dec 20.

Fomite transmission in head lice.

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Department of Dermatology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA.


Control of various infestations requires an accurate understanding of transmission. After thousands of years of lice infestation, scientific documentation of indirect contact transmission has been substantiated. Lice can be transferred in the egg, instar, and adult stages. Lice have now been shown in the laboratory to be readily dislodged by air movements such as blow-drying one's hair, combing, and toweling. Moreover, passive transfer to adjoining fabric is also frequently observed. Louse transmission by fomites occurs more frequently than has been commonly believed. Close proximity suffices to increase the likeliness of a new infestation. Thus louse control measures should take account of fomite transmission and include screening of all individuals within an infested person's immediate circle of contact, laundering of everything within the infested individuals' bed or quarantining of such material for 10 days, thorough vacuuming of floors, carpets, upholstery, with a standard vacuum cleaner.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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