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Cold Atmospheric Pressure Plasma Comb—A Physical Approach for Pediculosis Treatment

Publication Type:Journal Article
Year of Publication:2019
Authors:L. ten_Bosch, Habedank, B., Siebert, D., Mrotzek, J., Viöl, W.
Journal:International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Pagination:19 pp
Date Published:21-Dec-2018
Keywords:body lice, CAPP, head lice, Pediculosis, physical treatment, plasma comb, plasma-based pest management

Abstract: Pediculosis, that is the infestation of humans with Pediculus humanus capitis (head lice), poses a worldwide problem that is as old as mankind itself. Over the centuries, man has developed a variety of remedies, all of which have ultimately culminated in the use of chemical agents. Some of these remedies are known to produce successful results. A large portion of the effective remedies used to kill lice and their eggs contain insecticides, but there is an increasing number of reports of head lice populations revealing an increased resistance. This study presents an alternative treatment approach, the efficacy of which is based on physical effects. Cold atmospheric pressure plasmas have successfully shown their formidably wide application range within the field of plasma medicine. This study presents a plasma device in its current stage of development that is engineered as a consumer product to enable an alternative physical and insecticide-free option for the treatment of pediculosis. An efficacy study concerning different developmental stages of P. humanus humanus is presented. P. humanus humanus was chosen as a substitute test organism for P. humanus capitis due to possible laboratory rearing and high anatomic similarity. The study shows how a single stroke of the plasma device over a hair strand (approximately 22 cm in length with a weight of 1.5 g) led to mortality rates of 68.3% (50.0; 79.7) (95% CI) in the juvenile test group, a mortality rate of approx. 67.7% (54.9; 78.8) (95% CI) in the female test group, and approx. 46.7% (28.3; 65.7) (95% CI) in the male test group. When single eggs were introduced directly into the plasma for approx. 1 s, younger eggs (0–2 d) showed a higher mortality of 66.7% (42.7; 82.7) than the older (4–6 d) eggs, with 16.7% (5.6; 34.7) (CI). Furthermore, the results of a risk assessment of the device are described. The article concludes with necessary handling instructions as well as further developmental steps, derived from the results of the efficacy and the risk assessment study.

Short Title:IJERPH
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