A YouTube video shows the unsettling sight of millions of lice crawling through a girl’s hair in what experts have described as an extreme case of head lice.
In the video, a mother attempts to run a fine-toothed nit comb through her daughter’s coarse hair, which is filled with countless squirming lice.
Dr. Alejandra Perotti, a lecturer at the University of Reading’s School of Biological Sciences, said that lice “are very common in the UK and Europe, but not to this level.”
“I work in forensic sciences and these types of cases are found in cases of neglected children or the elderly,” Perotti said. “You also see it in cases of homeless people.”
Perotti added that in cases as bad as this one, children often develop a condition called “plica polonica”, in which all the hairs become glued together and cannot be brushed. She noted that this child was “almost in that condition” and that to treat it, you “have to cut off all the hair.”
Because female lice lay eggs close to the root of the hair, where they are kept warm by the scalp, Perotti said that “you have to cut the hair very short so the female lice don’t lay eggs.”
Perotti noted that one underused method of treating head lice, which have a bacterium living inside of them, is to use antibiotics. She said that “any simple, mild antibiotic will kill the lice.”
Dee Wright, founder of the Hairforce salons, which offer a specialized “Lice Assassins” service, agreed that this case is one of the more extreme cases she has ever seen.
“We’ve even seen people with nests,” Wright said. “That’s where you’ve got so many lice they’re clumping together.”
Wright added that cases this extreme often happen when parents don’t check their children’s hair regularly, and noted that the lice could be affecting the child’s health.
“Lice carry bacteria, impetigo. When they feed, they inject their saliva,” Wright said. “That contains an anticoagulant. Low levels of this anticoagulant will bring on mild flu-like symptoms.”
Ian Burgess, Director of the Medical Entomology Center in Cambridge, told Mail Online that it was likely the child had been suffering with lice for several months.
In terms of treating the extreme infestation, Wright said that the best way to treat head lice is to comb them. A fine tooth comb should be used on wet hair; the comb should be cleaned after each brush.
Photo Source: Mail Online