Drugs Used in the Treatment of Pediculosis

March 2005 | Volume 4 | Issue 2 | Original Article | 207 | Copyright © March 2005

Dirk M. Elston MD

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 naïve to believe that head lice will never be shown to spread disease.