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Head lice treatment ‘four fifths ineffective’

14th June 2006

Popular treatments for head lice are only killing off one out of every five head lice, it has been claimed.

A group of Welsh doctors rooting through the lice-ridden heads of nearly 300,000 Welsh schoolchildren found that the two main treatments, organophosphates and pyrethroids, were not working against 80 per cent of head lice found.

Having analysed the ability of head lice to higher concentrations of enzymes, the researchers were led to conclude that “growing evidence” of “resistance” to the two treatments, available over the counter as malathion and phenothrin respectively, existed.

The study warned that “whether the findings on resistance can be applied to other parts of the UK will depend largely on local patterns of insecticide usage”, suggesting that differences in prescribed treatments in terms of intensity and frequency had an effect on efficacy.

It also pointed out that “formulations may vary slightly by country” using the US’ different formulation for malathion-based insecticides as an example.

Eight per cent of the children tested had lice, the study confirmed.

Britain spends 30 million pounds every year attempting to tackle the scourge of head lice in the nation’s children – but, as today’s study shows, we may not be getting our money’s worth.

track© Adfero Ltd

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