Background: Head louse (Pediculus humanus capitis) is one of the common health problems of the children in elementary schools. The aim of this study was to determine risk factors associated with head lice (Pediculosis) infestation among elementary school students in Meshkinshahr County,
Materials and Methods: This descriptive-analytic study is done over 1,950 students (1,055 girls and 895 boys) in Meshkinshahr County, North West of Iran that were selected two-stage cluster. Data collection was conducted using researcher-made questionnaire. In addition, the suspected cases were confirmed via physical examination for the presence of adult lice, and eggs. Head examinations were done by general physicians and medical entomologist experts. For data analysis, Chi-square and Regression Logistics tests were used.
Results: In total, out of 1,950 students of primary schools, 200 students (10.25%) were infested with pediculosis. A total of 131 (12.42%) of girls, and 69 (7.71%) of boys were head lice infested. Most of
head lice infested students 145 (72.5%) were in the classrooms with capacity of more than 20 students. Also, one hundred sixty-one (80.5%) of the cases were in the schools with capacity of more than 100 students. This study revealed significant differences among student’s family size, students and their parents' history of infestation, type of bathrooms, history of use shared hygiene items and head lice infestation (P < 0.05).
Conclusion: The prevalence of head lice infestation in Meshkinshahr County was relatively high in comparison to other studied areas of Iran. It seems family size, students and their parents' history of infestation, type of bathrooms, and history of use shared hygiene items were probably risk factors associated with head lice infestation among students of primary schools.