Epidemiology and Risk Factors of Pediculosis capitis in 5 Primary Schools Near the Thai-Myanmar Border in Ratchaburi Province, Thailand

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Nipon Thanyavanich
Pannamas Maneekan
Surapon Yimsamram
Wanchai Maneeboonyang
Supalarp Puangsa-art
Pitak Wuthisen
Suthiporn Prommongkol
Pasert Rukmanee
Irwin F Chavez
Natefa Rukmanee
Wutthichai Chaimungkun
Chotima Charusabha



This cross-sectional study was conducted in 2006 to determine the prevalence of Pediculosis capitis and some risk factors among primary schoolchildren in 5 schools at the Tanaosri Sub-district, Suan Phung District, Ratchaburi Province, near the Thai-Myanmar border. After hair examination, 695 of 807 (86.1%) were found to be infested with the parasite.

Stratified by school, Ban Bo Wi had the highest prevalence, at 88.4% (n = 121), followed by Ban Suan Phung, with 87.4% (n = 127), then Ban Huai Phak with 86.7% (n = 128). Ban Tha Makham (n = 111) had a prevalence rate of 86.5% and Ruchiraphat (n = 319) 84.3%.

At least one student in the schools studied had the highest ectoparasite count found: Ban Bo Wi School, with 126 parasites, Ban Tha Makham, 103, Ban Suan Phung, 77, and Ruchiraphat, 50 parasites. The maximum parasite count in Ban Huai Phak School was only 6, which may have been due to the use of Annona squamosa before the survey.

Logistic regression analysis showed some variables had a significant relationship with headlouse infestation–age (slope = 0.9; p < 0.05), sharing a bed with parents (OR = 2.4; p < 0.01), and dirty fingernails (OR = 1.9; p < 0.05). The other variables studied showed no statistically significant relationship with infection–knowledge level, attitude, hair length, frequency of hair washing, type of hair cleaning solution, unassisted hair washing, and presence of scalp wound.

The head louse remains a public health problem among younger female primary-school students in rural Thai communities. The results of this study can help control head-louse infestations in children.

Keywords : head louse, schoolchildren, Pediculosis capitis, Thai-Myanmar, risk factor, prevalence

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