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Parasitol Res. 2009 Jun;104(6):1295-8. doi: 10.1007/s00436-008-1324-6. Epub 2009 Jan 16.

Epidemiology of Pediculosis capitis in elementary schools of Buenos Aires, Argentina.

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Centro de Investigaciones de Plagas e Insecticidas (CITEFA/CONICET), Buenos Aires, Argentina.


The infestation with the human obligate ectoparasite Pediculus humanus capitis De Geer is a common public health problem affecting mainly schoolchildren worldwide. The aim of the present study was to investigate the infestation levels of head lice in elementary schools from Buenos Aires with resistant levels to permethrin >100. A total of 1,856 children aged 3-13 years old from eight selected elementary schools were examined for head lice. Pediculosis was observed in all the studied schools. The overall infestation rate was 29.7%. Girls were statistically significant more infested than boys, with infestation rate values of 36.1% and 26.7%, respectively (P < 0.0001). Only 42 of the infested girls (12%) and 23 of the infested boys (11.4%) had >10 lice on their hair. The proportions of infested children-both girls and boys-in each age group were not found to differ significantly from one another. The infestation rate among schools varied from 19.12% to 42.74%. This indicated that pediculosis is relatively common in elementary schools from Buenos Aires, and those levels are of epidemic importance. The differences of pediculosis among the studied schools could be explained by the different control strategies applied by parents or advisors to eradicate head lice.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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