Wet combing is far more effective in detecting head lice than traditional scalp inspection

November 08, 2000

(Wet combing versus traditional scalp inspection to detect head lice in children: observational study) BMJ Volume 321, pp 1187-1188

Traditional scalp inspection is a poor technique for detecting head lice, as 30 per cent of its "positive" results and 10 per cent of its "negative" results are false according to an observational study of 260 primary school children in Belgium.

False results are a worry since they lead to non-infested children being treated unnecessarily and infested children missing out on effective eradication treatment. The study, in this week's BMJ, suggests that despite the extra effort involved, wet combing is the gold standard for detecting head lice.
Contact: Jan De Maesener, Department of General Practice and Primary Health Care, Ghent University, Belgium Tel: +32 9 240 3542 Fax: +32 9 240 4967 Email: jan.demaeseneer@rug.ac.be

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