Friday, August 12, 2005

Lousy Friday Blogging: Pediculus humanus capitis

These lovely creatures (click the pic to enlarge) found their way into my clinic this week along with dozens (or hundreds?) of their little friends. This was the worst infestation I have ever seen, which apparently had not responded to intermittent applications of Nix, Rid and the use of a nit comb for about 2 months. The host was a sweet 16 year old girl with long dark hair down to her waist. From about 5 feet away I could see these critters climbing all over her shiny dark hair. The hair from the the back of her head around her neck had a frosted appearance from all the nits. Following the exam, I discreetly carried these specimens out and placed them in a container, then I cooled them by pouring the cold head of a small container of liquid nitrogen over them so they would not get away during the photo session.

Here is more info on head lice and their treatment from Wikipedia.

One interesting thing I found in the article on head lice was their use in Archeogenetics......"Because most "modern" human diseases have in fact recently jumped species from animals into humans through close agricultural contact, and also given fact that neolithic human populations were too scattered to support contagious "crowd" diseases, lice (along with such parasites as intestinal tapeworms) are considered to be one of the few ancestral disease infestations of humans and hominids. As such, analysis of mitochondrial lice DNA has been used to map early human and archaic human migrations and living conditions."
Here is a related link from the University of Utah: "Of Lice and Men"

Don't forget to check out the Friday Ark!!

Also see these lice at the Webiocosm Zoo.

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Blogger AYDIN Ă–RSTAN said...

If I am remebering it correctly, a couple of years ago there were news about 2 species of body (not hair) lice pointing at an early division of human populations. I think the body lice of Native Americans is a separate species, or something like that.

7:12 PM  
Anonymous Janet Harris said...

I like a couple of products by ClearLice - I use one for treatment and one for prevention. Their products are over the counter and they work very quickly.

8:29 AM  

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