Diagnosis of Head Lice Infestations: An Evidence-Based Review
Identifiers and Pagination:Year: 2010
First Page: 69
Last Page: 71
Publisher ID: TODJ-4-69
Article History:Received Date: 28/09/2009
Revision Received Date: 05/02/2010
Acceptance Date: 10/02/2010
Electronic publication date: 14/7/2010
Collection year: 2010
open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/legalcode. This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
The diagnosis of head lice infestation is made through visual inspection of the hair and the scalp or by dry/wet combing. The choice of the method essentially depends whether the examiner aims at the detection of active infestation – presence of trophic stages and/or viable eggs 7ndash; or wants to identify a historical infestation (presence only of nits/dead eggs). For the latter purpose, visual inspection of the hair at five predilection sites (temples, behind the ears, neck) is the method of choice (sensitivity 80% - 90%). The optimal method for the diagnosis of active head lice infestation is wet combing with a sensitivity ≥ 90%, even in children with a low infestation intensity. In resource-pour settings, where pediculosis capitis is very common and infestation intensity is high, self-diagnosis by affected individuals or their caretakers is an accurate alternative.