Head Lice Survey at Atoifi Hospital

Friday, November 30, 2018

Story by Relmah Harrington

Researchers from the Atoifi Health Research Group (AHRG) have recently authored a study about how Ivermectin can reduce the prevalence of head lice. Ivermectin is a medication that is effective against many types of parasites. We already know from other studies that mass drug administration (MDA), with ivermectin, can reduce the number of people who have scabies and intestinal worms in Solomon Islands. However, there has never been a study to document how ivermectin MDA will reduce head lice in these villages.

With this as a background, the team screened 118 people and found that 30 people (25%) had active head lice. Everyone was treated with ivermectin. After two weeks only 3 people had active head lice (2.5%) and after three months only 8 people (8%) had active head lice.

The good news? This study found that ivermectin can dramatically reduce the burden of active head lice infestation. This is great because we now have proof that when a MDA with ivermectin is conducted in villages to reduce scabies or intestinal parasites, it will also reduce head lice. This will be an added health benefit to people in these villages.

The article can be found at: https://journals.plos.org/plosntds/article?id=10.1371/journal.pntd.0006825

For further information please contact: Dr Michael Marks (Michael.Marks@lshtm.au.uk) or Rowena Asugeni (rowenaasugeni@gmail.com)

Photo credit: sourced from https://www.dermatologyadvisor.com/dermatology/lice-headbodypubic-pedicu...