Although the clothes louse is a known carrier of typhus and recurrent fevers and has recently been shown to be a carrier of trench fever, I am not aware of any published evidence that it may produce an illness due to a toxin or toxins introduced by its bite. Observations made while attempting to raise large numbers of lice for experimental purposes during the spring of 1918 appear to show that such an intoxication may result in persons bitten by large numbers of lice. The account given here is not presented as positive proof that such is the case, but rather to make available for other workers a record of our experiences.
Experiments were begun on the louse problem in the spring of 1917, with lice collected from the clothing of men in a municipal lodging house. They were kept in an electric incubator, heated to from 28 to 30
MOORE W. AN INTERESTING REACTION TO LOUSE BITES. JAMA. 1918;71(18):1481–1482. doi:10.1001/jama.1918.26020440006009c