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Paper Information

Journal:   IRANIAN JOURNAL OF EPIDEMIOLOGY   SUMMER 2006 , Volume 1 , Number 4; Page(s) 51 To 63.
 
Paper: 

EPIDEMIOLOGY OF HEAD LOUSE INFESTATION AND RELATED FACTORS IN SCHOOL CHILDREN IN THE COUNTY OF AMLASH, GILAN PROVINCE, 2003-2004

 
 
Author(s):  RAFINEZHAD J.*, NOUROLLAHI A., JAVADIAN E., KAZEMNEJAD ANOUSHIRAVAN, SHEMSHAD KH.
 
* DEPARTMENT OF MEDICAL ENTOMOLOGY, SCHOOL OF PUBLIC HEALTH AND INSTITUTE OF PUBLIC HEALTH RESEARCH, TEHRAN UNIVERSITY OF MEDICAL SCIENCES, TEHRAN
 
Abstract: 

Background & Objectives: Pediculosis is a ubiquitous and contagious parasitic dermatosis. Throughout the world, infestation by the head louse (Pediculus humanus capitis) is more common among schoolchildren, especially in those aged 6-11 years.  This descriptive/analytical study was carried out in 2003 to determine the prevalence of pediculosis capitis and risk factors involved in the epidemiology of pediculosis in primary school pupils in Amlash, Gilan province.
Methods: The children were selected by cluster random sampling of schools and classes, and then examined for head lice using hair conditioners and a fine-toothed head lice comb. We screened a total of 4244 pupils from 95 primary schools. We used a comprehensive questionnaire to evaluate the effects of school type and location, education level, parent job, regular baths, number of persons sharing the same bed, combing frequency, host sensitivity, family size, hairstyle, gender, and hair length.
Results: Statistical analysis using X2 tests showed that school type, school location, parent job, regular baths, number of person who share the same bed, frequency of combing, gender, host sensitivity, family size, and hairstyle are significantly associated with infestation. Infestation rate showed no correlations with hair color, season, age, or education level. Results showed that pediculosis is more prevalent in rural than in urban areas. The average rate of infestation for the area was 9.2%, indicating an epidemic situation by standard criteria.
Conclusions: The high prevalence of P. capitis infestation among these children was probably due to poor environmental hygiene and scarcity of water. Hygienic controls of schoolchildren by nurses are important for elimination of Pediculus humanus capitis. This is the first community-based study describing in detail the epidemiology of head louse infestation in the Amlash district of Gilan province in Iran and confirms that Pediculosis capitis is still a problem in many environments, particularly those with low life standards and poor health care.

 
Keyword(s): HEAD LOUSE PEDICULOSIS, EPIDEMIOLOGY, RISK FACTORS, SCHOOL CHILDREN, AMLASH, IRAN
 
References: 
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