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Lice Aren't Nice

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But then, neither is losing school attendance-based state money. And some parents in the Los Angeles Unified School District are more than a little bugged over a policy change in the district that allows children to come to school with nits in their hair. The old policy required that any child with head lice be sent home and not allowed back in class until his or her hair was free of both lice and nits, or lice eggs. But the scrupulous policy kept many kids out of school for days or weeks. The new policy, adopted this year, allows students to return to school once they have been treated—even if some nits remain in their hair. Dr. Kimberly Uyeda, the school's director of student medical services, argues that the eggs are not infectious and can't jump from one student to another. But concerned parents—who have met with district officials twice already over this issue—aren't buying it. Some think administrators have an interest in keeping as many kids in the classroom as possible to ensure the district gets all of its attendance-based funding. "If you're absent, they can't make money off of you," said parent Elena Diona. School officials flatly deny that state funding is a factor in the new lice policy. "We certainly wouldn't [increase enrollment] through head lice," Uyeda said. Unless lice attendance qualifies for funding, that is.

16 Comments

Gross!

Good job California. It is time that medical care be put into the hands of those with current, research bases knowledge. The days of blood letting and a no-nit policy are over.

Nits do not jump or fly and are glued to the hair so they do not transfer....Way to go LA!!!!!!!
Its about time!!!!

We don't keep student's out of school for strep throat once they are on antibiotics, because they are no longer contagious. Why should we exclude students after they have been treated for lice and are no longer considered contagious?
Students do not get lice from nits, but from live lice.

As a school nurse, I am glad that the policy has been modified to fit the research. Keeping students in school after they have been treated is much more beneficial than excluding them when they have little chance of transmitting a bug that does not transfer disease but is classified as a nuisance. It is time that we get over our aversion to lice and our antiquated view of students that get lice. Let's put the students' well-being first.

Department of Dermatology, Geisinger Medical Center, Danville, PA, USA.

Pediculosis is the result of infestation by one of two families of sucking lice. The Pediculidae include the agents of head and body lice. Pubic lice belong to the family Pthiridae. Pediculus humanus capitis (the head louse) and Pediculus humanus humanus (the body louse) look identical. The two differ by the slightly larger size of the average body louse, as well as where they reside and deposit their eggs. Head lice live in the scalp hair and deposit their ova on hair shafts. Body lice live in the seams of clothing and deposit their ova on fabric fibers, usually in the seams of the clothing. Although body lice are common vectors of disease, head lice have not been proven to act as disease vectors. This having been said, the two are so closely related that it is naive to believe that head lice will never be shown to spread disease.

Dirk M. Elston , MD ,FAAD. Geisinger Medical Center Dermatology

Relaxing vigilence against blood obligate human parasites during these times of resistant microbes and re-emerging communicable diseases is arrogant and irresponsible.

Do viable unhatched eggs of the head lice carry disease? Please cite research reference.

What re-emerging communicable diseases do head lice support according to recent research?

One of the more recent:


First Molecular Evidence of Bartonella quintana in Pediculus humanus capitis (Phthiraptera: Pediculidae), Collected from Nepalese children.

“B. quintana DNA sequences were detected in both head and body lice from two children as well as in body lice derived from two other children. These results demonstrate that head lice may also play a role in the transmission of trench fever.”

Toshinori Sasaki; Shree Kanta S. Poudel; Haruhiko Isawa; Toshihiko Hayashi; Naomi Seki; Takashi Tomita; Kyoko Sawabe; Mutsuo Kobayashi

Keep in mind that pediculicides are insufficiently
ovicidal.

Published here:

Journal of Medical Entomology
2006, vol. 43, no. 1, pp. 110 - 112

Parasitol Res. 2003 Jun;90(3):209-11. Epub 2003 Feb 27. Related Articles


Potential role of head lice, Pediculus humanus capitis, as vectors of Rickettsia prowazekii.

Robinson D, Leo N, Prociv P, Barker SC.

Department of Microbiology and Parasitology, and Institute for Molecular Biosciences, University of Queensland, 4072 Brisbane, Australia.

Since the pioneering work of Charles Nicolle in 1909 [see Gross (1996) Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 93:10539-10540] most medical officers and scientists have assumed that body lice are the sole vectors of Rickettsia prowazekii, the aetiological agent of louse-borne epidemic typhus (LBET). Here we review the evidence for the axiom that head lice are not involved in epidemics of LBET. Laboratory experiments demonstrate the ability of head lice to transmit R. prowazekii, but evidence for this in the field has not been reported. However, the assumption that head lice do not transmit R. prowazekii has meant that head lice have not been examined for R. prowazekii during epidemics of LBET. The strong association between obvious (high) infestations of body lice and LBET has contributed to this perception, but this association does not preclude head lice as vectors of R. prowazekii. Indeed, where the prevalence and intensity of body louse infections may be high (e.g. during epidemics of LBET), the prevalence and intensity of head louse infestations is generally high as well. This review of the epidemiology of head louse and body louse infestations, and of LBET, indicates that head lice are potential vectors of R. prowazekii in the field. Simple observations in the field would reveal whether or not head lice are natural vectors of this major human pathogen.

Publication Types:
Review
Review, Tutorial

PMID: 12783309 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

So what now?

Let all the school nurses, school administrators and teachers come to school each day with hatching or if they are lucky??? some dead lice eggs in their hair. Let them explain to themselves, not to mention their family, friends and lovers, that it is still no big deal.

This is a shocking and sad commentary for kids in America where it is said you can judge a culture by how it cares for its children. Maybe the saying should say how it DOESN'T CARE for its children instead.

Shame on everybody. :(

Nits are eggs . . . eggs hatch! I am a teacher. I think students should be lice free and nit free before returning to the classroom. Teachers do all they can to prevent the spread of lice. Lice treatment is an expensive and time-consuming task. Schools could take some of that "attendance reward" and supply the schools with lice treatment products. However, parents must take the responsibility to perform this task and treat their child and their child's environment. Some parents are not willing to take on such a task. Therefore, they (and their child) suffer the consequences, i.e. school absences.

Keep kids in school with the only FDA registered non-toxic OTC treatment that not only treats existing infestation but can help prevent infestation and/or re-infestation.

Please visit: www.xpelheadlice.com

The FDA is corrupt. Look at all the money they spend on campaigns to rush things through. They own the presidency and most of the congress and senate WBR LeoP

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