Parents Warned of Chemical Resistant ‘Super Nits’

Experts have issued a warning about chemical resistant ‘super nits’ that have been discovered in Australia- and they could ‘spread around the world very quickly.’

The final school term is often the ‘worst time of year for *head lice’ with one in four children infested and so, as many of you may remember, the ‘NIT’ nurse used to be called into schools to eradicate this ‘mighty mite’.

Chemical Resistant 'Super Nits'
New breeds of lice are evolving and present-day treatments are becoming less effective. image: Twitter

Melissa Murray, science communicator from the Australian Museum’s Search and Discover department in Sydney, said:” New breeds of lice are evolving and they are becoming more resilient to the over the counter chemicals that we have been using, including Permethrin, Pyrethrin and Malathion. The chemicals we’ve been using are becoming less effective.”

Murray added: “Traditional products seem to be losing their efficacy as some invertebrates, such as head lice, can evolve and adapt to the chemicals that are being used to kill them off. Every individual will respond to a parasite differently like they do with mosquitoes etc, and the scratching can be both from the feeling of them crawling around, as well as the host’s reaction to the louse’s saliva. However, scratching open wounds can lead to a bacterial infection, so as well as treating the head lice, they also might need antibiotics.”

In case you didn’t know

*Head lice are tiny insects that feed on blood from the human scalp. An infestation of head lice most often affects children and usually results from the direct transfer of lice from the hair of one person to the hair of another.


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Written by

Tony Winterburn

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