Normally body lice are sensitive to light and if disturbed will quickly move to a seam or crease for cover. Transmission of body lice occurs when living conditions are crowded, personal hygiene is neglected, clothes are not changed and facilities for laundering clothes are not available. Lice can spread rapidly through homeless people or victims of war and natural disasters, when people sleep in their clothes and huddle together for warmth.
Bedding and furniture have also been implicated as a source of infestation in overcrowded environments. Clinical Presentation. Initially, bites from body lice are seen as small minute red dots that develop into papular lesions with wheal-like inflammation. The toxic effects from repeated injections of saliva may produce symptoms including headache, lassitude, loss of appetite, joint pain, elevated temperature, irritability, and a rash which is similar to German measles.
Severe itching is another symptom that infected individuals suffer, which may indicate the development of an allergy; inhalation of faeces or parts of cast skins from body lice may also trigger symptoms which resemble hay fever. Secondary infections are common and result from the continuous scratching of repeated inoculations of louse saliva. Body lice are not responsible for the spread of any infectious disease-causing organisms within Australia, and are considered uncommon in this country.
Laboratory Diagnosis. Identification of louse specimens is by light microscopy. Detail from the patient on exactly what part of the body the specimens were collected is important in establishing the identity of the louse. Head lice, Pediculus capitis see Head Lice , are taxonomically very difficult to differentiate from body lice.
Body lice are rarely found on the head of an infected person and, when not on the body, tend to stay hidden within layers of clothes. Wilbur Irelan B. James Jeffries M. Robert L. Johnson B. Mary Johnson B. Illinois University M S. Richard King B. Speech, Masque and Gavel Mrs. Sandra Kopsky B. Western Illinois University Art Mrs. Muriel Kratz A. Joe Kutosky B. Harry Lane B. Edward Lenzi A. A I Lewis B. Paul Maas B. Rodger Alanuel B. Mills B. Junior Leadership Mr.
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