Lice: An Embarrassing and Annoying Parasite

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Lice are ectoparasitic insects to humans that are 1 to 3 mm in length (less for pubic lice), cannot fly or jump, require close contact for transmission, and need a human host to survive. Three different types exist: head louse (Pediculus humanus capitis), crab or pubic louse (Pthirus pubis), and body louse (Pediculus humanus corporis). Head lice, the most common of the three types, are found across all socioeconomic classes worldwide. Transmission of head lice is via close contact, head-to-head contact, or inanimate objects like combs or brushes. The resistance of lice to medications continues to be a growing problem worldwide. Many different medication options are available for eradication of head lice. Essential oils are also potential pediculicidal agents, and many countries have over-the-counter products containing them.

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Course Description

Lice are ectoparasitic insects to humans that are 1 to 3 mm in length (less for pubic lice), cannot fly or jump, require close contact for transmission, and need a human host to survive. Three different types exist: head louse (Pediculus humanus capitis), crab or pubic louse (Pthirus pubis), and body louse (Pediculus humanus corporis). Head lice, the most common of the three types, are found across all socioeconomic classes worldwide. Transmission of head lice is via close contact, head-to-head contact, or inanimate objects like combs or brushes. The resistance of lice to medications continues to be a growing problem worldwide. Many different medication options are available for eradication of head lice. Essential oils are also potential pediculicidal agents, and many countries have over-the-counter products containing them.

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