Prevalence of Pediculus humanus capitis infestation in school children at Despenaderos, Cordoba Province

Publication Type:Journal Article
Year of Publication:2003
Authors:A. Ramirez, Almeida, F. F. Luduena, Almiron, W. R.
Journal:Revista de la Facultad de Ciencias Medicas de la Universidad Nac. de Cordoba
Pagination:43 - 53
Date Published:2003
ISBN Number:0014-6722
Keywords:animals, Argentina, child, English Abstract, humans, Lice Infestations/epidemiology, Pediculus, Prevalence, risk factors, scalp dermatoses, Seasons, Severity of Illness Index, Socioeconomic Factors

BACKGROUND: Approximately 80% of Argentine children have pediculosis, making it imperious to detect the defects in the prevention and control actions for this parasitosis. OBJECTIVES: To study the infestation level by P. h. capitis, its temporal variation, and the association between infestation and host characteristics. MATERIALS AND METHODS: A monthly census in children of 6-8 years old from 2 primary schools (state and private) was carried out, recording the parasite stages found, children characteristics (sex, colour and length of hair), and infestation level. Data were analysed by means of contingency tables, difference of proportions, quotient of chances, and rank correlation coefficient. The independence of variables was analysed by c' test. RESULTS: The prevalence and chances of becoming infested were higher at the state school, where also all infestation levels were recorded, which did not occur at the private institute. The frequency of children infested was significantly lower when they had short hair. The correlation among infestation degree and hair length (short-long) was only significant for boys. Pediculosis cases were recorded at the beginning of the school year in both educative institutions, which demonstrated that infestation was acquired not only at school but also at home. CONCLUSIONS: Pediculosis is a social problems and the whole community must participate in preventive and control actions, for which sanitary education is essential, and the myth that the school is the only place of contagion must be eradicated.

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