There are mutant head lice infesting kids in 25 states

There are mutant head lice infesting kids in 25 states
Credit: Giles San Martin / Flickr

It is not a turtle, nor is it teenaged, but it’s as sneaky as a mutant – mutant head lice infesting 25 states in the US. New studies have revealed that head lice have developed resistance or immunity to treatments presently prescribed by doctors. Kyong Yoon, an assistant professor at Southern Illinois University, and John Marshall Clark, director of the Massachusetts Pesticide Analysis Laboratory and professor at the University of Massachusetts, presented initial results from their study on mutant lice at a conference of the American Chemical Society (ACS) in Boston on Tuesday.

“We are the first group to collect lice samples from a large number of populations across the U.S.,” says Kyong Yoon, Ph.D. “What we found was that 104 out of the 109 lice populations we tested had high levels of gene mutations, which have been linked to resistance to pyrethroids.”

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