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99.6 percent of US lice are super-lice


Some are calling it “The Licepocalypse”.  According to a new study published by the Entomological Society of America in the Journal of Medical Entomology, destroying lice is now more difficult than ever.  The US researchers are warning the populace about “super-lice” that are invulnerable to insecticides present in the majority of popular anti-lice shampoos and ointments.


A male louse

The research team reported that due to what they call a “TI mutation”, lice are quickly becoming immune to pyrethrins and pyrethroids which are insecticides that have been utilized literally for decades to kill the creatures.   The group of researchers conducted a DNA analysis of lice samples from 32 locations in the US and Canada.  Their conclusion was that the prevalence of the mutation is unfortunately “uniformly high” across the continent of North America.

Online sources indicate, however, that this is not the first time that scientists have reported a disturbingly high percentage of “treatment-resistant lice.”   A study published in 2010 conducted by a group of Canadian researchers also reported that 97.1 percent of lice tested were “resistant” to pyrethroids or pyrethrins.  Currently these “super lice” are currently present in 97.1 percent of Canadian and 99.6 percent of U.S. lice cases.

The US researchers note:  “Alternative approaches to treatment of head lice infestations are critically needed.”  Their new study does however note that test results reveal that other substances are effective against the ”super-lice” such as benzyl alcohol, the insecticide spinosad and the anti-parasitic medication ivermectin.  People have also reported having some success with such homegrown treatments as vinegar, tea tree or coconut oil and even mayonnaise.

Another study recently published in the Journal of Medical Entomology reports that removing lice eggs with conditioner and water is as effective as using costly nit removal products.  (Check your children’s hair and see what you comb up with.)

(Image courtesy of Wikipedia)

About Will Phoenix

W. Scott Phoenix, B.A., B.S. was born in Hawaii, raised in Pennsylvania and resides in California. He has been a published writer since 1978. His work has appeared (under various names) in numerous places in print and online including Examiner.com. He is a single parent of three children and has also worked as an actor, singer and teacher. He has been employed by such publications as the Daily Collegian and the Los Angeles Times.
  • jaichbin

    This leaves me scratching my head. Seriously, did anyone else’s head start itching while reading this article?