Maryland Outbreak of Super Lice
Maryland is one of 25 states that is experiencing an outbreak of “super lice” that is resistant to over-the-counter treatments.
These “super lice” are increasingly becoming resistant to pyrethroids, the active ingredients in most over-the-counter treatments. Pyrethroids, which are synthetic versions of a chemical found in chrysanthemums, lock receptors in insect nervous systems, paralyzing lice and eventually killing them.
The finding doesn’t mean you can’t kill lice with pyrethroids,” according to Kyong Yoon, an assistant professor at Southern Illinois University—Edwardsvillle, “But you will need a higher dose.”
What are super lice?
Super lice are parasitic insects that can be found on the scalp, eyebrows and eyelashes of humans and feed on blood. Due to a genetic mutation, super lice are resistant to over-the-counter treatments used to kill regular lice.
What are the symptoms of super lice?
- Feeling of something moving in the hair
- Itchy scalp
- Difficulty sleeping
The only way to determine if you have super lice is whether or not you respond to treatment. If you or your child still have lice after an over-the-counter treatment, it may be super lice.
How do super lice spread?
According to the CDC, super lice are spread by direct contact with the hair of an infested person.
Head lice move by crawling, but they cannot hop or fly. Lice can also spread by sharing clothing or hair accessories recently worn or used by a person with lice. Dogs, cats and other pets cannot spread head lice.
Treating lice and super lice?
It is NOT necessary to start with over-the-counter treatments for lice IF confirmed cases of resistance are known in the community. All clothing, linens and toys should be washed in hot water. If the lice are treatment-resistant, your pediatrician or an urgent care can prescribe another form of treatment that has been proven effective against super lice.
Think you have lice?
If you are concerned, or have found lice on you or your child, contact your Pediatrician or family doctor or go to your an urgent care such as Evolve Direct Primary Care (if you need an appointment, you can schedule with Evolve online here.)