Introduction: Head louse, Pediculus capitis, is an obligatory ectoparasite with a worldwide distribution. Head louse infestation is still common in many countries including Iran. It causes serious health problems in many communities particularly among the school-age children. This is an important infestation, which is related to the societies with low health condition. This descriptive study was conducted on the cases with head lice infestations that attended to the Azna Health Centers and were examined by the trained health staff, during 2007.
Methods: This study was carried out among the patients with head lice infestation, who referred to the Azna Health Centers, during 2007. Suspected hairs of head, nape of the neck, and around ears were examined for nits and lice, by health staff. Individuals would be considered as affected while seeing any forms of louse. Epidemiologic and demographic information of patients were recorded and collected in the questionnaires. Recorded data in the questionnaires were analyzed by SPSS software.
Result: The infestation of head lice was 95 cases in Azna County in 2007. All infested cases were found among the females. The incidence of pediculosis was greater in the villages (70.5%) than in the urban (29.5%) areas. The prevalence rate of pediculosis among the age groups of 17 years old were 10.5% , 62.1% , 24.2% and 3.2%, respectively. Eighteen cases (18.9%) of patients had infestation background to pediculosis and 77 cases (81.1%) were without infestation background. The frequency of nit infestation was 90 cases and with adult and nymph were five cases. Remarkable percentage of patients (78%) complained from head itching. Seventy cases of patients were observed among the people who have used of common tools such as combs and towels. Most of the patients (79%) were without healthy bathroom at home. 75.8% of patients had elementary knowledge. Conclusion: As the data of this study showed, head louse is an important health problem in Azna, especially among the people with low education, who live in the area with poverty, low health and overcrowded conditions. Therefore, a health behavior and knowledge promotion is recommended among the children,especially, of 6-10 age groups and school health practitioners, through education methods regarded to the personal and social health promotion, to reduce the head louse infestation among the people. In addition, further studies are needed to carry out among the students, their parents and school health practitioners with emphasized on the more related factors including the economic levels.