The facts: What is 'super' lice? - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

other

The facts: What is 'super' lice?

Lice populations in the states in pink have developed a high level of resistance to some of the most common treatments. (Source: Kyong Yoon, Ph.D.) Lice populations in the states in pink have developed a high level of resistance to some of the most common treatments. (Source: Kyong Yoon, Ph.D.)
  • More on WTVM.comMore>>

  • School and health officials tackle lice in the Valley

    School and health officials tackle lice in the Valley

    Friday, February 26 2016 5:19 PM EST2016-02-26 22:19:02 GMT
    Tuesday, January 10 2017 10:41 AM EST2017-01-10 15:41:59 GMT

    Itchy scalps and big headaches are in store for millions of children and their parents each year, including in the Valley as "super lice" is a growing concern. The numbers are in and they're not looking good. Health officials say up to 12 million kids will be infested with lice each year in the U.S., with up to 24 million resulting lost school days. 

    More >>

    Itchy scalps and big headaches are in store for millions of children and their parents each year, including in the Valley as "super lice" is a growing concern. 

    More >>

(WTVM) - Recent national media reports are appearing to recycle a social media driven story from 2015 - a 'super' lice threat in more than 25 U.S. states.

Several news station articles are citing a 2015 study by Kyong Yoon, Ph.D. at Southern Illinois University - Edwardsville.

Yoon's study about the strains of lice resistant to a commonly-found drug used in over-the-counter treatments said that it was a problem in 25 states. The study showed it has been a growing problem since the late 1990s.

Yoon's findings were first read at the American Chemical Society in August 2015. The U.S. National Library of Medicine National Institute of Health published the study, identifies the 'super' lice known as a knockdown-type resistance allele strain of lice.

The study's findings and the social media speculation caught fire around the time most parents are sending their children back to school.

Yoon's study did not say that the lice could not be stopped - just that the main ingredient in OTC treatments, pyrethroids, isn't strong enough, and a doctor's prescription would rid children of nits.

"The first report on this development came from Israel in the late 1990s. Yoon became one of the first to report the phenomenon in the U.S. in 2000 when he was a graduate student at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst," a 2015 report said.

Pyrethroids, a common ingredient in many household pesticides, is the main component of treatments that lice are growing resistant to. The pesticide, which worked "100 percent of the time' in treatments in 2000; by 2013, it only worked only 25 percent of the time, according to Yoon's study.

“If you use a chemical over and over, these little creatures will eventually develop resistance,” Yoon says. “So we have to think before we use a treatment. The good news is that head lice don’t carry diseases. They’re more a nuisance than anything else.”

How can someone treat this 'super' lice? According to the Lice Clinics of America, heated air can be used as an additional treatment for the strain of lice, as well as a doctor's prescription. One such prescription is AirAlle, FDA-approved device

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, ways to prevent head lice are avoiding head-to-head contact and to not share items that touch your hair, like hats or hair combs and brushes, to name a few others.

The CDC says nearly 12 million people get head lice each year. You can see the CDC's prevention list here.

And note: lice cannot live without a blood supply for more than 24 hours.

We've reached out to Yoon and his research partner for comment and have not heard back yet. 

Copyright 2016 WTVM. All rights reserved. 

  • Inside News Leader 9More>>

  • Special

    As seen on 9

    As seen on 9

    Saw a story on-air and want to learn more? Find the social media talkers and big news stories here.

    More >>

    Saw a story on-air and want to learn more? Find the social media talkers and big news stories here.

    More >>
Powered by Frankly