Clinical Characteristics and Prognosis of Pediatric Phthirus pubis Coinfestation of the Eyelashes and Scalp Hairs

Bangtao Yao Department of Ophthalmology, Nanjing Lishui People’s Hospital, Zhongda Hospital Lishui Branch, Southeast University, Nanjing, China;

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Chang’an Hu Department of Otolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery, Nanjing Lishui People’s Hospital, Zhongda Hospital Lishui Branch, Southeast University, Nanjing, China;

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Xiaoli Yue Department of Pathology, Nanjing Lishui People’s Hospital, Zhongda Hospital Lishui Branch, Southeast University, Nanjing, China

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Gang Liu Department of Ophthalmology, Nanjing Lishui People’s Hospital, Zhongda Hospital Lishui Branch, Southeast University, Nanjing, China;

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Bei Wang Department of Ophthalmology, Nanjing Lishui People’s Hospital, Zhongda Hospital Lishui Branch, Southeast University, Nanjing, China;

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ABSTRACT.

Phthirus pubis infestation is a highly infectious parasitic disease, affecting 1.3–4.6% of people globally. However, the coinfestation of P. pubis on the eyelashes and scalp hairs in children is uncommon, and the clinical characteristics and prognosis have not been fully studied. In this retrospective study, we report five pediatric patients diagnosed with eyelash and scalp coinfestation of P. pubis. The samples were obtained after treatment and sent for pathological examination. The demographic and clinical characteristics of the study participants were analyzed in detail. Numerous lice and nits were detectable on the eyelashes and scalp hairs in all enrolled patients. The ages ranged from 2 to 5 years. The duration of onset ranged from 3 to 10 days. The common clinical presentations were itching (100%) and conjunctivitis (60%). Treatment included eyelash and scalp hair trimming to the root (100%) and mechanical removal of the parasites (100%), in addition to topical tobramycin eye ointment (100%) and phenothrin shampoo (80%). Symptoms resolved by a 1-week follow-up. Pediatric P. pubis coinfestation mainly occurs on the eyelashes and temporal scalp in females, and sometimes contact tracing fails to identify the source. Phthirus pubis infestation of eyelashes can be misdiagnosed as blepharoconjunctivitis. Sexually transmitted diseases should be ruled out for patients with P. pubis infestation. Untreated or persistent cases may lead to several serious infections.

Author Notes

Address correspondence to Bangtao Yao, Department of Ophthalmology, Nanjing Lishui People’s Hospital, Zhongda Hospital Lishui Branch, Southeast University, Nanjing 211200, China. E-mail: yaobamtao_njmu@163.com

These authors contributed equally to this work.

Disclosure: The study was approved by the institutional review board of Nanjing Lishui People’s Hospital.

Data availability: The datasets presented in this study are included in the article; further inquiries can be directed to the corresponding author.

Authors’ addresses: Bangtao Yao, Gang Liu, and Bei Wang, Department of Ophthalmology, Nanjing Lishui People’s Hospital, Zhongda Hospital Lishui Branch, Southeast University, Nanjing, China, E-mails: yaobamtao_njmu@163.com, lg1974329@163.com, and wangbei_ly@163.com. Chang’an Hu, Department of Otolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery, Nanjing Lishui People’s Hospital, Zhongda Hospital Lishui Branch, Southeast University, Nanjing, China, E-mail: 768359522@qq.com. Xiaoli Yue, Department of Pathology, Nanjing Lishui People’s Hospital, Zhongda Hospital Lishui Branch, Southeast University, Nanjing, China, E-mail: chyuech2020@163.com.

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