Academic journal article Central European Journal of Public Health

Pediculosis Capitis: Prevalence and Its Associated Factors in Primary School Children Living in Rural and Urban Areas in Kayseri, Turkey

Academic journal article Central European Journal of Public Health

Pediculosis Capitis: Prevalence and Its Associated Factors in Primary School Children Living in Rural and Urban Areas in Kayseri, Turkey

Article excerpt

SUMMARY

Objective: The aim of this study was to investigate the prevalence and risk factors of pediculosis capitis in schoolchildren living in rural and urban areas in Kayseri, a city located in central Anatolia in Turkey.

Methods: This cross-sectional school-based study was performed in 24 randomly selected public schools. A total of 8,122 schoolchildren aged 5-16 years, from kindergarten to eighth grade, were examined for the presence of pediculosis capitis. Achild was defined as being infested by the presence of live or dead lice or eggs/nits. The results were analyzed using the chi-squared test and logistic regression analysis.

Results:The overall prevalence of head lice infestation was 13.1%. Pediculosis was more frequent in girls (25.2%) than in boys (0.86%) (p<0.001). The prevalence was lower in children aged 5-8 years than in those aged 9-11 or 12-16 years (p<0.001). In multiple regression analyses, the variables demonstrating statistically significant association with pediculosis were: being a girl (OR=40.93; 95% CI=29.06-57.66), being 9-11 years old (OR=1.54; 95% CI=1.25-1.89), residing with ≥ 3 siblings (OR=1.98; 95% CI=1.57-2.50), having a mother with no education (OR=1.73; 95% Cl=1.29-2.33), having a father with no education (OR=1.45; 95% CI=1.08-1.94), living in a rural area (OR=2.34; 95% CI=2.02-2.71) and living in a one-room house (OR=2.39; 95% CI=1.41-4.08).

Conclusions: Pediculosis capitis remains a health problem in schoolchildren in Kayseri, Turkey. In addition to improvement in socioeconomic status, collaborative and participation efforts among physicians, nurses, teachers, and parents are necessary to maintain effective epidemiological surveillance and provide treatment.

Key words: pediculosis capitis, prevalence, schoolchildren, Turkey

INTRODUCTION

The human head louse, Pediculus humanus capitis, is a common public health concern, especially in children. It is an obligate holometabolous ectoparasite that spends its complete life cycle in hair on a human head (1). Transmission occurs mainly by direct person-to-person contact or by instruments such as shared combs, pillows and hats. Climate, geography, ethnicity, and hygienic conditions play a role in spreading lice. Head lice are bloodsucking insects that can cause pruritus, excoriation, conjunctivitis, secondary bacterial infection, local post-therapeutic dermatitis, posterior neck adenopathy, unspecific generalized dermatitis, anaemia, and allergic reactions resulting in nasal obstruction and rhinorrhea. Head lice infestation may also lead to psychological distress and may disrupt learning performance in schoolchildren (1-5). In addition, the likelihood of outbreaks of pediculosis in schoolchildren is another concern (6). Therefore, it is essential to obtain epidemiological data from different regions to enable strategic planning for the control and prevention of pediculosis.

Pediculosis capitis is more prevalent in schoolchildren and the rate of head lice infestation shows a wide range (up to 80%) among various countries worldwide (5). This study aimed to determine the prevalence and risk factors of pediculosis capitis in schoolchildren living in urban and rural areas of Kayseri, Turkey.

MATERIALSAND METHODS

This cross-sectional school-based epidemiological study was conducted in schoolchildren in Kayseri. Kayseri, a city with a total of 139,422 schoolchildren, is located in central Anatolia, which is a geographic and historical term defining the westernmost protrusion of Asia that forms the majority of the Republic of Turkey (Fig. 1). The climate in Kayseri is cold, snowy and wet in winter, but dry and hot in summer. Permission to conduct the study was obtained from the Governorship of Kayseri. This study was approved by the Erciyes University Ethics Committee in Kayseri. Children from 20 schools with kindergarten and four schools without kindergarten (15 urban and 9 rural schools) were evaluated. …

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