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Brijesh Singh Yadav


Disease Type: Parasitic Disease

Common Name: lice infection
Causative Agent: lice

Disease Discription: Pediculosis is an infestation of lice, blood-feeding ectoparasitic

insects of the suborder Anoplura. The condition can occur in almost any species of
mammal, but is commonly used to refer to the infestation of humans. Pediculosis is an
infestation of the hairy parts of the body or clothing with the eggs, larvae or adults of lice.
The crawling stages of this insect feed on human blood, which can result in severe
itching. Head lice are usually located on the scalp, crab lice in the pubic area and body
lice along seams of clothing. Body lice travel to the skin to feed and return back to the

Infected head A patient with pediculosis

Fig .Showing the infection
Type of disease:

Head louse –

The head louse (Pediculus humanus capitis) is an obligate ectoparasite of humans. Head
lice are wingless insects spending their entire life on human scalp and feeding exclusively
on human blood.Humans are the only known host of this parasite.

Head lice are closely related to body lice (Pediculus humanus humanus) which also infest
humans. A more distantly-related species of louse, the pubic or crab louse (Pthirus
pubis), also infests humans. Lice infestation is known as pediculosis.

The head louse (and lice in general) differ from other hematophagic ectoparasites such as
the flea in that lice spend their entire life cycle on a host. Head lice cannot fly, and their
short stumpy legs render them incapable of jumping, or even walking efficiently on flat
Body louse - The body louse (Pediculus humanus humanus, sometimes called
Pediculus humanus corporis) is a louse which infests humans. The condition of being
infested with head lice, body lice, or pubic lice is known as Pediculosis.

Crab louse - The pubic or crab louse (Phthirus pubis) is a parasitic insect which
spends its entire life on human hair and feeds exclusively on blood. Humans are the only
known host of this parasite. Humans can also be infested with body lice (Pediculus
humanus humanus) and with head lice (Pediculus humanus capitis).

Causes of Disease:

Anyone may become louse infested under suitable conditions of exposure. Pediculosis is
easily transmitted from person to person during direct contact. Head lice infestations are
frequently found in school settings or institutions. Crab lice infestations can be found
among sexually active individuals. Body lice infestation can be found in people living in
crowded, unsanitary conditions where clothing is infrequently changed or laundered.

Risk Factors:
Head lice occur in people of all ages, of all races, and of both sexes. Children aged 3–
10 are most likely to become infested. In the United States, blacks are less commonly
affected because the shape of the louse claw is better suited to grabbing onto the hairs of
white or Asian peoples. In addition, girls are more likely to have head lice than are boys.

Causative Agent:

Pathogen Name: Lice

Pathogen Description: Lice (singular: louse), (order Phthiraptera), also known as fly
babies, are an order of over 3,000 species of wingless insects; three of which are
classified as human disease agents. They are obligate ectoparasites of every avian and
most mammalian orders. They are not found on Monotremes (the platypus and the
echidnas or spiny anteaters) and a few eutherian orders, namely the bats (Chiroptera),
whales, dolphins and porpoises (Cetacea) and pangolins (Pholidota).

As lice spend their entire lives on the host, they have developed adaptations which enable
them to maintain close contact with the host. These adaptations are reflected in their size
(0.5–8 mm), stout legs, and claws which are adapted to cling tightly to hair, fur and
feathers, and that they are wingless and dorsoventrally flattened.
Lice feed on skin (epidermal) debris, feather parts, [Chlorine] sebaceous secretions and
blood. A louse's color varies from pale beige to dark grey; however, if feeding on blood,
it may become considerably darker.

A louse's egg is commonly called a nit. Lice attach their eggs to their host's hair with
specialized saliva which results in a bond that is very difficult to separate without
specialized products. Living lice eggs tend to be pale white. Dead lice eggs are more
yellow. Lice are very annoying and are difficult to remove, but not impossible. Ways to
control lice: Lice Comb. Prescription shampoo or wash.

Taxonoimic Classification:

The order has traditionally been divided into two suborders; the sucking lice (Anoplura)
and chewing lice (Mallophaga), however, recent classifications suggest that the
Mallophaga are paraphyletic and four suborders are now recognised:

• Anoplura: sucking lice, including head and pubic lice (see also Pediculosis or
Head lice)
• Rhyncophthirina: parasites of elephants and warthogs
• Ischnocera: avian lice
• Amblycera: chewing lice, a primitive order of lice
• Amblycera: Jumping Lice have very strong hind legs and can jump a distance of
three feet

It has been suggested that the order is contained by the Troctomorpha suborder of

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Subclass: Pterygota
Infraclass: Neoptera
Order: Phthiraptera
Haeckel, 1896



Egg/Nit: Nits are head lice eggs. They are very small, about the size of a knot in thread,
hard to see, and are often confused for dandruff or hair spray droplets. Nits are laid by the
adult female at the base of the hair shaft nearest the scalp. They are firmly attached to the
hair shaft. They are oval and usually yellow to white. Nits take about 1 week to hatch.
Eggs that are likely to hatch are usually located within 1/4 inch of the scalp.

Illustration of egg on a hair shaft (Image credit: CDC)

Nymph: The nit hatches into a baby louse called a nymph. It looks like an adult head
louse, but is smaller. Nymphs mature into adults about 7 days after hatching. To live, the
nymph must feed on blood.

Nymph form (Photo credit: CDC)

Adult: The adult louse is about the size of a sesame seed, has six legs, and is tan to
greyish-white. In persons with dark hair, the adult louse will look darker. Females, which
are usually larger than the males, lay eggs. Adult lice can live up to 30 days on a person's
head. To live, adult lice need to feed on blood. If the louse falls off a person, it dies
within 2 days.
Adult louse (Image credit: CDC) Adult louse claws. (Photo credit: CDC)


About 6-12 million people, mainly children, are treated annually for head lice in the
United States alone. High levels of louse infestations have also been reported from all
over the world including Israel, Denmark, Sweden, U.K., France and Australia.[4][5]
Normally head lice infest a new host only by close contact between individuals, making
social contacts among children and parent child interactions more likely routes of
infestation than shared combs, brushes, towels, clothing, beds or closets. Head-to-head
contact is by far the most common route of lice transmission.

The United Kingdom's National Health Service, and many American health agencies[1]
[2][3], report that lice "prefer" clean hair, because it's easier to attach eggs and to cling to
the strands.

Head lice (Pediculus humanus capitis) are not known to be vectors of diseases, unlike
body lice(Pediculus humanus humanus), which are known vectors of epidemic or louse-
borne typhus (Rickettsia prowazeki), trench fever (Rochalimaea quintana) and louse-
borne relapsing fever (Borrellia recurrentis).

Disease Host: Human and other anomals

Disease Transmission:

For both head lice and body lice, transmission can occur during direct contact with an
infested individual. Sharing of clothing and combs or brushes may also result in
transmission of these insects. While other means are possible, crab lice are most often
transmitted through sexual contact.
Signs and symptoms of disease:

In order to diagnose infestation, the entire scalp should be combed thoroughly with a
louse comb and the teeth of the comb should be examined for the presence of living lice
after each time the comb passes through the hair. The use of a louse comb is the most
effective way to detect living lice.[2]

The most characteristic symptom of infestation is pruritus (itching) on the head which
normally intensifies 3 to 4 weeks after the initial infestation. The bite reaction is very
mild and it can be rarely seen between the hairs.

Observation of pubic lice or nits attached to the hair. The diagnosis is suggested by a
history of itching and exposure to lice or observation of crabs by the patient. Pubic lice
can also involve eyelashes, eyebrows, beard and body hair. These areas should be

The female crab louse - responsible for

pediculosis pubis. This louse is just visible
with the naked eye - crawling among the pubic Pediculosis pubis.
hairs. Small eggs (nits) may be seen attached
to the pubic hairs. The most common
symptom is itchiness in the pubic region.


The number of diagnosed cases of human louse infestations (or pediculosis) has
increased worldwide since the mid-1960s, reaching hundreds of millions annually.[3]
There is no product or method which assures 100% destruction of the eggs and hatched
lice after a single treatment. However, there are a number of treatment modalities that can
be employed with varying degrees of success. These methods include chemical
treatments, natural products, combs, shaving, hot air, and silicone-based lotions.

Prevention of disease: Examination of the child’s head at regular intervals using a

louse comb allows the diagnosis of louse infestation at an early stage. Early diagnosis
makes treatment easier and reduces the possibility of infesting others. In times and areas
when louse infestations are common, weekly examinations of children, especially those
4–13 yrs old, carried out by their parents will aid control.

Geographical Distribution: Worldwide distribution

1. "Lice (Pediculosis)". The Merck Manual (2005 November). Retrieved on 2008-
2. Mumcuoglu KY, Friger M, Ioffe-Uspensky I, Ben-Ishai F, Miller J (2001).
"Louse comb versus direct visual examination for the diagnosis of head louse
infestations". Pediatr Dermatol 18 (1): 9–12. doi:10.1046/j.1525-
1470.2001.018001009.x. PMID 11207962.
3. Gratz, N. (1998). "Human lice, their prevalence and resistance to insecticides".
Geneva: World Health Organization (WHO). Retrieved on 2008-01-02.
4. Burgess, Ian (January 2004). "Human Lice and their Control". Annual Review of
Entomology 49: 457–481. Annual Reviews.
doi:10.1146/annurev.ento.49.061802.123253. PMID 14651472.
5. Mumcuoglu, Kosta Y.; Barker CS, Burgess IF, Combescot-Lang C, Dagleish RC,
Larsen KS, Miller J, Roberts RJ, Taylan-Ozkan A. (2007). "International
Guidelines for Effective Control of Head Louse Infestations". Journal of Drugs in
Dermatology 6: 409–14. PMID 17668538.

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