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Notable Notes
March 2014

Of Lice and Men

Author Affiliations
  • 1University of Texas Medical School at Houston, Houston
  • 2MedStar Washington Hospital Center, Washington, DC
  • 3Children’s National Medical Center, Washington, DC

Copyright 2014 American Medical Association. All Rights Reserved. Applicable FARS/DFARS Restrictions Apply to Government Use.

JAMA Dermatol. 2014;150(3):250. doi:10.1001/jamadermatol.2013.9980

Lice have annoyed hominids for millions of years, since long before Pediculus humanus branched, once or multiple times, into its capitis and corporis ecotypes. Although head louse infestations receive a particularly bad reputation from media and mothers, this condition in reality is more pesky than pestilent. Head lice carry negligible risk of disease transmission and therefore have minimal morbidity.1 Popular media, however, portray head lice as an affliction of the unclean and uncouth. Television often depicts pediculosis as a disgrace invited by lapsed personal hygiene and fully deserving of society’s scorn.