Mutated Super Lice
Have invaded our kid’s heads and they are resistant to over the counter remedies.
A new treatment resistant mutated species of "super lice" that cannot be killed by even the most popular over-the-counter remedies have arrived and researchers say that getting rid of them is going to be harder and harder for parents.
A study published recently in the Journal of Medical Entomology, has found that common over-the-counter insecticides such as permethrin used to be up to 100 per cent effective in killing the parasites when it was introduced in 1984.
But now researchers have found 98.3 per cent of the lice have a mutation meaning the lotions and sprays and shampoos are about as effective as kyrptonite on Lex Luther.
Major archaeological dig under way in Melbourne's CBD
In a dark room in the earliest days of settlement in Melbourne, a gold nugget and a lice comb
fall unnoticed through a crack in the floorboards.
For more than 150 years they were forgotten in the gloom, until unearthed from the rubble
of the Mistletoe Hotel as part of a major archaeological dig in the CBD. Read more.
Some of History's Most Beautiful Combs Were Made for Lice Removal
By Ella Morton
Thirty years ago, parasitologist Kostas Mumcuoglu and anthropologist Joseph Zias were examining a
first-century hair comb excavated from the West Bank when they found a surprise lurking in its fine
teeth: 10 head lice and 27 louse eggs.
With their “interest in lice having been aroused,” they later wrote, they began to look more closely at
some other ancient combs that had recently been excavated. To their delight, eight of the 11 combs
unearthed in the Judean Desert contained lice, eggs, or both.
The presence of these parasites was a major shake-up. “We had assumed that combs were used
almost exclusively for cosmetic purposes,” they wrote in their report. “Now it appears that they were
also used as de-lousing implements. Indeed, the combs we examined appear to have been designed specifically for de-lousing.”
Today, lice combs are a cheap, plastic affair, used in conjunction with chemical treatments to rid scalps of the schoolyard scourge. But historically—going all the way back to the Ancient Egyptians—combs incorporating de-lousing designs were used as daily implements.
“Most ancient combs are double-sided and have more teeth on one side than the other,” wrote Mumcuoglu and Zias. “The user would straighten his or her hair with the side that had the fewer teeth and then whisk away lice and louse eggs with the finer and more numerous teeth on the other side of the comb.”
Combs were most commonly made of wood, bone, or ivory, and often incorporated intricate carvings. In the medieval era, scenes of courtly love and Biblical piety were incorporated into the designs. But the double-comb layout, with very fine teeth on one side and sparser teeth on the other, has remained the same since antiquity.
The reason? It does the job so well. “[C]ombs found in archaeological excavations are artistically superior to, and at least as effective as, the ones we use today,” wrote Mumcuoglu and Zias.
In appreciation of the beautiful lice combs of yore, here is a sampling of the more striking designs. Read more.
Coming to a school near you!
New research published in the Journal of the Entomological Society of America, shows that lice are becoming increasingly difficult to remove.
That’s thanks to a new strain of critter that is resistant to traditional treatments. In fact, this new strain — dubbed ‘super lice’ doesn’t seem to respond to any of the over-the-counter lice treatments currently on the market.
And these super lice are spreading more quickly than health experts had initially feared. Read more.