Turkish Journal of Medical Sciences






Pediculus capitis, or human head lice, infests people worldwide, although it is most often seen in school-aged children. The aim of this study was to estimate the incidence and the epidemiological factors related to Pediculus capitis infestation among the selected population. Materials and methods: A study conducted from January to March 2010 of 318 females and 282 males up to 13 years of age found a prevalence rate for Pediculus capitis infestation of 53 (16.8%) in the North Gaza Governorate. The study involved 600 children and used multistage, systematic random sampling. Results: Male children had a lower rate of infestation (1.7%) than females (15.1%). Children aged 8-9 years were the most frequently affected and there was a significant relationship found between head lice infestation and sex, age, family size, hair length, parents' education, bathing facilities in the home, and frequency of hair-washing; these factors indicate that head lice infestation depends on socioeconomic status and hygienic practices in the home of the family. The severity of infestation was also studied in terms of several different variables. Associated clinical manifestations included impetigo (9.8%), alopecia (5%), fever (3.1%), and scalp pruritus (10.3%). Conclusion: It is concluded that pediculosis constitutes a health problem among children in the North Gaza Governorate.


Epidemiology, Pediculus capitis, school children, risk factors, North Gaza Governorate

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