Pediculus humanus capitis: An update

Inna Nutanson, Christopher J. Steen, Robert A. Schwartz, C. K. Janniger

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

46 Scopus citations


Head lice infestation, or pediculosis capitis, caused by Pediculus humanus capitis, is a common health concern. In the US, where pediculosis capitis is the most prevalent parasitic infestation of children, 6 to 12 million people are affected every year. Pediculosis capitis remains confined to the scalp. Scalp pruritus is the cardinal symptom, although patients with lice can be asymptomatic. Pruritus with impetiginization should prompt the physician to look for lice or viable nits. All close contacts should be examined. Treatment directed at killing the lice and the ova should be considered only if active lice or viable eggs are observed. The three fundamental effective treatment options for head lice are topical pediculicides, wet combing, and oral therapy. Spraying or fogging a home with insecticides or pediculicides is not recommended.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)147-159
Number of pages13
JournalActa Dermatovenerologica Alpina, Pannonica et Adriatica
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2008

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Dermatology
  • Infectious Diseases


  • Arthropods
  • Infestations
  • Lice
  • Pediculosis capitis
  • Pruritus

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