Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Body lice originate from head lice

Date:
March 26, 2010
Source:
CNRS (Délégation Paris Michel-Ange)
Summary:
Body lice, which cause highly lethal epidemics (trench fever, typhus and relapsing fever Borrelia), originate from head lice.

Head lice at various stages of development from egg to adult.
Credit: iStockphoto/Kevin Dyer

Body lice, which cause highly lethal epidemics (trench fever, typhus and relapsing fever Borrelia), originate from head lice.

This has recently been shown by a team from the Emerging Infectious and Tropical Diseases Research Unit (CNRS/IRD/Université de la Méditerranée), in collaboration with researchers from the Universities of Florida and Illinois (US).

Until now, head lice, which feed on the scalp and lay their eggs on hair, and body lice, which feed on the rest of the body and live in the creases of dirty clothes, were thought to be different species. However, researchers from the Emerging Infectious and Tropical Diseases Research Unit (CNRS/IRD/Université de la Méditerranée) and two US teams have shown that these lice have the same origin. Through genetic analysis of highly variable sequences of the louse genome, the researchers observed that it was impossible to distinguish the head louse from the body louse at the genetic level.

In addition, fieldwork has shown that, in populations living in extreme poverty, the proliferation of head lice led to the emergence of lice able to adapt to clothes and turn into body lice. These body lice were then able to cause epidemics of body lice and bacterial epidemics.

This discovery shows that it is not possible to eradicate body lice without first eradicating head lice, which until now has proved impossible. In addition, this explains the regular appearance of body lice in areas where they were previously unknown, when sanitary conditions rapidly deteriorate. Head lice are therefore permanently in an endemic state. In highly unfavorable sanitary conditions, head lice proliferate, and some of them migrate into clothes, triggering a new epidemic of body lice.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by CNRS (Délégation Paris Michel-Ange). Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Li et al. Genotyping of Human Lice Suggests Multiple Emergences of Body Lice from Local Head Louse Populations. PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases, 2010; 4 (3): e641 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pntd.0000641

Cite This Page:

CNRS (Délégation Paris Michel-Ange). "Body lice originate from head lice." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 26 March 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/03/100326124922.htm>.
CNRS (Délégation Paris Michel-Ange). (2010, March 26). Body lice originate from head lice. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/03/100326124922.htm
CNRS (Délégation Paris Michel-Ange). "Body lice originate from head lice." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/03/100326124922.htm (accessed September 21, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Sierra Leone's Nationwide Ebola Curfew Underway

Sierra Leone's Nationwide Ebola Curfew Underway

Newsy (Sep. 20, 2014) — Sierra Leone is locked down as aid workers and volunteers look for new cases of Ebola. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Changes Found In Brain After One Dose Of Antidepressants

Changes Found In Brain After One Dose Of Antidepressants

Newsy (Sep. 19, 2014) — A study suggest antidepressants can kick in much sooner than previously thought. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Newsy (Sep. 19, 2014) — The study found elderly people are much more likely to become susceptible to infection than younger adults going though a similar situation. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Jury Delivers Verdict in Salmonella Trial

Jury Delivers Verdict in Salmonella Trial

AP (Sep. 19, 2014) — A federal jury has convicted three people in connection with an outbreak of salmonella poisoning five years ago that sickened hundreds of people and was linked to a number of deaths. (Sept. 19) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins