The Head Louse is a Careful Mother
It’s encouraging and enormously important to see independent researchers currently looking at the issues of body lice and head lice again, motivated by both healthy curiosity and scientific interest. There was a long stretch of time during which most of the information available on the subject of human lice was generated by conflicted experts hired to promote pesticidal treatments which in turn were vigorously marketed by the pharmaceutical industry.
Looking back at the literature, one has to consider the possibility that some of the major published and highly referenced articles of influence on the topic were ghost-written by product manufacturers and without conflict of interest disclosures. One of the worst ever, in my opinion, was the “Guidelines for Resistant Lice” which wasn’t ghost-written yet acknowledged that it was funded by the manufacturer whose product the report touted as the alternative treatment for resistant lice.
To this day the FDA doesn’t warn about the long known fact that head lice have developed resistance to many of the major pesticidal treatments. Such products remain available to parents as treatments on the drug store shelves and available through Amazon – all without warning. Resistance issues are critical given that both body lice and head lice as communicable human parasites remain medically relevant with the living conditions of the homeless, and large numbers of unchecked immigrants from parts of the world where louse-borne diseases such as relapsing fever, typhus and trench fever are endemic.
It’s all too reminiscent of lice as a serious public health threat well known and respected many decades ago.
The NPA endeavors to keep the public current on bona fide advances in the field by posting abstracts and links on the headlice.org website. You can find links to various other articles here: Head Lice Research