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November 27, 1943


Author Affiliations


From the Laboratories of the International Health Division of the Rockefeller Foundation.

JAMA. 1943;123(13):825-826. doi:10.1001/jama.1943.02840480025007

As part of a general program to devise methods for the control of typhus fever a systematic study was undertaken with a view to determining the louse-killing properties of various chemical agents. My purpose in this paper is to present results obtained by the use of some of these chemical agents in the control of head lice (Pediculus humanus capitis [Linnaeus] Retzius).

The older methods for the control of head lice can be found in various textbooks1 and in Buxton's little monograph "The Louse."2 Objections to these treatments arise almost as they are described. Shaving the scalp is effective but hardly appealing. Soaking the hair for an hour in 70 per cent alcohol, 2 per cent phenol, veratrine, larkspur, vinegar or similar preparations is time consuming and only too often ineffective or irritant. Essential oils are effective in adequate dosage but expensive and odorous. Kerosene, crude petroleum and