Epidemiology of an Outbreak of Head Lice in Georgia

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  • Parasitic Diseases Branch and Parasitic Diseases and Veterinary Public Health Division, Bureau of Epidemiology, Center for Disease Control, Georgia Department of Human Resources, Epidemiology Section, Winder-Barrow County Health Department, Atlanta, Georgia 30333

An outbreak of head lice infestation (pediculosis) occurred in elementary school children in Barrow County, Georgia, in January 1974. An investigation was initiated to define the magnitude of the outbreak, determine factors that contribute to transmission, and disseminate information on control. All elementary school children in the country were examined for head lice and answered a questionnaire. Fifty-three (3%) of 1,783 white pupils were infested, but none of the 500 black pupils was infested. Distribution of infestation in the white pupils was influenced by grade, bed-sharing, socioeconomic status, infestation of other family members, crowding in the home, and family size; distribution was not influenced by hair length or the sex of the pupil. Recommendations for control based on the results of the investigation included procedures for identifying and processing cases, distributing free pediculicides, continuing surveillance, and educating school personnel and parents on how to control the parasite.

Author Notes

Veterinary Epidemiologist, Parasitic Diseases Branch, Bureau of Epidemiology, CDC.

Senior Epidemiologist, Georgia Department of Human Resources, Epidemiology Section.

State Epidemiologist, Georgia Department of Human Resources, Epidemiology Section.

Microbiologist, Parasitic Diseases Branch, Bureau of Epidemiology, CDC.

Director, Parasitic Diseases and Veterinary Public Health Division, Bureau of Epidemiology, CDC.

Senior Public Health Nurse, Winder-Barrow County Health Department.

Public Health Nurse, Winder-Barrow County Health Department.

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