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Biomedica. 2017 Sep 1;37(3):333-340. doi: 10.7705/biomedica.v37i3.3311.

[Pediculus capitis in schoolchildren of the urban area of Nuevo León, México: Analyses of associated factors].

[Article in Spanish]

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Departamento de Zoología de Invertebrados, Facultad de Ciencias Biológicas, Universidad Autónoma de Nuevo León, Nuevo León, México.



Pediculosis capitis is a recurring problem affecting 6 to 12 millions of children annually; there are no epidemiological data on this subject in the state of Nuevo León, and there are few in México. Therefore, new contributions are needed to design control strategies based on factors that may predispose to head lice infestation.


To determine the prevalence of Pediculus capitis in primary school children and to evaluate risk factors and individual or socioeconomic characteristics statistically associated with infestation.


We included 840 schoolchildren from six municipalities after parents and children signed an informed consent. Ectoparasites were collected from infested children using a finetoothed comb. Participants were interviewed using a questionnaire on individual and socioeconomic variables including age, gender, education, hair characteristics, overcrowding, and siblings with pediculosis, among others.


The overall prevalence of head lice in schoolchildren was 28% (235/840), the highest prevalence was among girls (33.7%, 140/417), and children from the fifth grade (10-11 years old) were the most affected (6.2%; 52/840). Female gender, long hair and the father's education level were significantly associated with P. capitis.


Our results showed that the P. capitis prevalence in Nuevo León is one of the highest in Mexico, that it constitutes a real public health problem, and that there is need to establish prevention programs at home and school to decrease or to control P. capitis with the support of public health authorities.


Lice infestations/epidemiology; México; child; public health; risk factors

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