removing lice

Currently, neither head nor pubic lice are considered vectors for human pathogens. Of the three types that affect humans, only body lice are vectors for human pathogens. They are known to transmit relapsing fever, epidemic typhus, and trench fever, diseases caused by Borrelia recurrentis, Rickettsia prowazekii, and Bartonella Quintana. These pathogens have been found in lice feces and can be transmitted through the conjunctivae, mucous membranes, and contamination of bite sites.

Even though these three diseases have been known for at least a few centuries, they’re still a major health concern in developing countries; in populations living in poor-hygiene conditions because of social disruption, war, poverty, or simply put – bad health management. Poor-hygiene favors a higher prevalence of body lice, the main vectors for relapsing fever, trench fever, and typhus.

Trench fever occurs in both developing and developed countries among populations living in poor conditions, such as those in refugee camps, or homeless individuals. The mortality rate of epidemic typhus varies from 0.7 percent to whopping 60 percent for untreated cases. Relapsing fever is an infection caused by the spirochete Borrelia recurrentis. Although the disease has disappeared in most of the world, it is still a big health concern in some parts of Africa.

  1. September 29, 2018

    I had full head of lice when I was first grade, twenty years ago, that was the only time. My country was in war (Balkans war) and we were in basements and shelters all the time. I remember it itched like crazy. I think that lice love humidity and shelters with moist and mold are suitable for their survival and breeding.

  2. September 30, 2018

    Yes, this is true that several of the infectious diseases associated with human lice are life-threatening, including epidemic typhus, relapsing fever, and trench fever. Head lice are not known to spread disease. Head lice can be an annoyance because their presence may cause itching and loss of sleep. Sometimes the itching can lead to excessive scratching that can sometimes increase the chance of a secondary skin infection.

  3. October 10, 2018

    Helpful reading so far! Several of the infectious diseases associated with human lice are life-threatening, including epidemic typhus, relapsing fever, and trench fever, which are caused by Rickettsia prowazekii, Borrelia recurrentis, and Bartonella quintana, respectively. Thanks for the posting.

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