Epidemiology and Control of a Head Louse Outbreak in Ames, Iowa, 1976

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Proceedings of the Iowa Academy of Science, Vol: 86, Issue: 2, Page: 41-43

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Currier, Russell W.; Rowley, Wayne A.; Christensen, Bruce M.; Sielert, Dorothy
Head lice; pediculosis; Pediculus humanus capitis; epidemic; epidemiology
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At the onset of school in 1976, head lice were recognized by teachers and school nurses in the public and parochial schools in Ames, Iowa. One or more cases were identified from the 9 elementary schools and 3 secondary schools in the community. The greatest prevalence of louse infestations occurred in 2 elementary schools (1 parochial) where 16% and 14%, respectively, of the students were infested. A program was established to screen children and exclude infested individuals from class until they were effectively treated. The community was surveyed to determine the extent of infestation in each household from which at least 1 member was attending school and had a confirmed louse infestation. Data were tabulated on the incidence of louse infestations by school, grade, sex, hair color, hair length, number of persons living in homes where louse infestations were recognized and incomes of families that had infested members. Factors that contributed to louse transmission and an evaluation of an intensive community-wide control program are discussed.