Saturday, February 27, 2016

Mutant Super Lice Infest Brevard County Public School Children

Head louse
Head louse. Credit: Flickr / Gilles SM
BREVARD COUNTY, Florida - An outbreak of lice has caused concern on social media pages among parents of Brevard County Public School children. Parents have been complaining on Facebook for weeks about their children coming home with the blood-sucking parasites after going to school.

The outbreak became such a problem that Brevard County Public School District sent out a flyer on Monday with general information for parents about detecting lice and lice treatments. However, the flyer did not identify which schools are having the worst lice infestations.

ABC Orlando affiliate WFTV Channel 9 reported that the lice found at schools in Titusville, Florida are 'Super Lice.'

What Are Mutant Super Lice?

Last year, scientists discovered that lice populations in at least 25 states (including Florida) have mutated to develop a resistance to over-the-counter treatments still widely recommended by doctors and schools.

Researchers found that 104 out of 109 lice populations tested in 30 states had high levels of gene mutations, which have been linked to resistance to pyrethroids. Pyrethroids are a family of insecticides used widely indoors and outdoors to control mosquitoes and other insects. It includes permethrin, the active ingredient in some of the most common lice treatments sold at drug stores.