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Volume 52, Number 4, August 2019

Prevalence of Pediculus capitis in schoolchildren in Battambang, Cambodia 


Chien-Wei Liao, Po-Ching Cheng, Ting-Wu Chuang, Kuan-Chih Chiu, I-Chen Chiang, Juo-Han Kuo, Yun-Hung Tu, Yu-Min Fan, Hai-Tao Jiang, Chia-Kwung Fan


 

Background and purpose: 

Pediculus capitis is the most common human ectoparasite. When it feeds on the blood through the scalp of its host, the anticoagulant in its saliva causes scalp inflammation and itching, and consequent scratching by the host causes further inflammation from bacterial infection. P. capitis infestation is currently a common parasitic dermatosis and a critical public health concern in underdeveloped countries. 



 

Methods:

Through naked eye inspection of P. capitis on or in the hair from 323 school children in Cambodia. 



 

Results:

A total of 143 children (44.3%) were found to have P. capitis infestation. Univariate analysis revealed that girls had a significantly higher infection rate than boys. Overall, young aged schoolchildren (10 yrs old ≤) showed significantly higher infection rate than old aged schoolchildren (>10 yrs old). Groups stratified by time revealed that schoolchildren studied at the afternoon classes than morning classes in Tuol Prum Muoy Primary School had a significantly higher risk in acquisition of P. capitis infestation. Multivariate analysis results indicated that relative to the boys, the girls were at a significantly higher risk of contracting P. capitis infection. When stratified by inspection time with the Tuol Prum Muoy Primary School morning classes as the reference, the Tuol Prum Muoy Primary School afternoon classes exhibited a significantly higher risk of P. capitis infection. 



 

Conclusion:

Primary school children in Cambodia have a high P. capitis infection rate and thus require effective treatment and prevention measures to treat symptoms and lower the infection rate. 



 

Key words:

Pediculus capitisSchoolchildrenCambodia