The prevalence of pediculosis in rural South African schoolchildren

Govere, J.M., Speare, R., and Durrheim, D.N. (2003) The prevalence of pediculosis in rural South African schoolchildren. South African Journal of Science, 99 (1-2). pp. 21-23.

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INFECTION WITH PEDICULUS HUMANUS VAR. capitis has been poorly studied in South Africa and little is known about head louse prevalence, particularly in rural areas. A prevalence survey of head lice among school pupils in Grades 1-7 (age range 6-13 years) was conducted at two primary schools, Sikhutsele and Barberton, 5 km apart in rural Barberton, Mpumalanga, during April 2001. Sikhutsele students are exclusively black children from a low socio-economic community, whereas Barberton is a multi-ethnic school with children from a relatively high socio-economic group. Four trained school health nurses examined the scalps and hair of all schoolchildren (with their parents consent) present on the day of the survey. Any evidence of head louse infection resulted in screening using a commercially available white hair-conditioner which was applied to the hair and immediately removed with a fine-toothed comb. Combings were wiped onto paper tissue and immediately examined under a dissecting microscope for eggs and head lice. There was no evidence of head louse infestation among the 300 school children screened at Sikhutsele. Fifteen (8.6%) of the 175 children screened by the same team at Barberton Primary School were infected with viable head lice. All these children were white, with a resulting 16% prevalence rate (15/93) amongst white schoolchildren examined in the school. Children in each grade were infected and more girls than boys (Χ2 = 4.17; P = 0.026). This study indicated that the overall prevalence of head lice in primary school pupils in Barberton is low and involves only the white ethnic group.

Item ID: 3452
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1996-7489
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Reproduced with permission from the "South African Journal of Science".

Govere J.M., Speare R., and Durrheim D.N. (2003) The prevalence of pediculosis in rural South African schoolchildren. South African Journal of Science, 99 (1-2). pp. 21-23.

Date Deposited: 18 Jun 2009 01:03
FoR Codes: 11 MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES > 1103 Clinical Sciences @ 100%
SEO Codes: 92 HEALTH > 9201 Clinical Health (Organs, Diseases and Abnormal Conditions) > 920109 Infectious Diseases @ 100%
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