Infectious Diseases

sec_arr Lice


General Description: Differentiated by anatomical location: head (Pediculosis capitis); body (Pediculosis corporus); and pubic areas, aka, crab lice (Phthirus pubis). In developed countries, lice are generally a nuisance infestation that can cause an itchy rash and, as a complication, secondary bacterial infection. The body louse is the vector in epidemic typhus, trench fever, and epidemic recurrent fever. Head lice are a common problem in school-age children.

Mode of Transmission: Person-to-person direct contact for head and body lice; for crab lice, associated with sexual contact.

Efficiency of Transmission/Attack Rate: If lice or eggs are alive on host, they can be transmitted from person-to-person. Efficiency of transmission is dependent upon general hygiene and crowding. Eggs can remain viable for up to 1 month away from a human host. The lifespan of head and body lice is 2 days.

Period of Communicability: As long as eggs or lice are viable. Eggs of body and head lice can remain viable for 7 to 10 days depending upon environmental conditions.

Effect on LEO Fitness for Duty: Itching caused by bites can be distracting (see Appendix A for link to treatment recommendations).

LEO-specific Clinical Studies and Reports: None known.