Lice may be getting harder to treat, as, all across the US, head lice started showing resistance to a pesticide-based treatment.
Head lice transfer to humans via direct head-to-head contact, and are small insects that feed on the blood of the host, while they live on the scalp. They cause itching symptoms. Head lice can spread onto pillow cases, hairbrushes or coat hoods for up to 48 hours.
It has been estimated that 6 to 12 million American children, between the ages 3 and 11, become infected with lice each year, as stated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It seems that these pests have developed immunity, due to their genetics, to common forms of treatment.
A newly-conducted study pointed out that lice across 25 US states started displaying genetic mutations that render them immune to insect repellent pesticides who had been used as the handiest form of treatment so far, in the shape of lice treatment drugs. These treatments used to be recommended both by doctors and school officials. The study is due to be presented in a meeting of the American Chemical Society.
Lice samples have been gathered from 30 states by a team of researchers from Southern Illinois University, with the aid of health care assistants.
Ph.D. Kyong Yoon said they were able to gather lice samples from many communities across the US. The team pointed out that 104 lice congregations out of a total of 109 had acquired genetic mutations, which were in correlation with their resistance to insecticides known as pyrethroids.
These insecticides are generally used to treat pest occurrences. Regarding their composition, permethrin is an element which is used in the most common lice treatment drugs.
Yoon discovered that the DNA-related mutations turned lice into a real nuisance, as their nervous system was altered, in permitting them to be less sensitive to pyrethroids. Moreover, there are a total of three genetic mutations conjointly denominated as “knockdown-resistance” mutations.
These bugs exhibiting all three DNA changes have been encountered in California, Texas, Florida and other 22 states.
Moreover, the American Academy of Pediatrics have come up with a resolution involving the fact that parents should appeal to pediatricians that would prescribe their children with spinosad or topical ivermectin, which are specialized medication for treating the lice nuisance.
The good news is that many health experts started helping parents whose children suffer from those nasty bugs at health care centers or, moreover, at home.
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