Cause of Lice


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The lice which most commonly cause problems for humans are the head louse (Pediculus humanus capitis), the body louse (Pediculus humanus corporis) and the pubic louse (Phthirus pubis) and this is referred to as 'Pediculosis'. The cause of someone catching lice is usually through body to body contact with an infested person. Head lice cause more problems for children between the ages of 3 and 12 years old, whereas pubic lice will cause more problems for consenting adults. Body lice cause the homeless and people in overcrowded dwellings (with little access to clean clothing or bedding) problems, but it is not restricted to them by any means. All three types of louse can be caught by anyone and having lice does not reflect poor hygiene - although it does show that there's room for improvement when it comes to avoiding them.

The majority of children will have an experience with nits/head lice during their school years and it is with children that head lice infestation and spread are most prevalent. There are many different situations that cause head lice to spread amongst children, including the sharing of general head gear (such as hats, ribbons and helmets), hair brushes and combs, scarves, costumes and kits. However, as they cannot live for too long away from a blood meal (i.e. their host) the cause is just as likely to be head to head contact. As lice are unable to fly or jump/hop, they would need to crawl or scurry from one host to another. As children spend all day together in close proximity, it's an ideal environment for an outbreak of head lice to spread. As they can go undetected for days/weeks, this can then cause them to further infect the families and friends of the school children.

The cause of spread in pubic lice (also known as crabs) infestations is close body to body contact and this takes place most commonly whilst having sex with an infected person. However, it is possible to catch pubic lice via non sexual contact, such as just sharing a bed (exposing infected genitalia), kissing a person with an infected moustache or beard and also potentially from clothing, towels and bed lining (although these are unlikely as 'crabs' also can't be away from a host for too long). Pubic lice do not only infect the hair around the groin, they can be found in other hairy areas of the body such as the anus, facial hair (eyebrows, eyelashes, beards and moustaches), the chest, underarms and back.

What is the Cause of Lice

what is the cause of lice

There are also many situations that cause body lice to spread amongst overcrowded populations. Over one million soldiers were infected with 'trench fever' in WWI, the cause of which was body lice. Unlike the head and pubic louse, this type of louse can cause a number of diseases in humans (such as Rickettsia prowazekii (agent of epidemic typhus), Borrelia recurrentis (agent of relapsing fever) and Bartonella Quintana (agent of trench fever)) all of which can cause great illness (some fatal). Body lice lay their eggs in clothing seams and on bedding, so it is not only the human body that needs treating when you are trying to rid an infestation. All clothing etc must be washed and dried at a high temperature to kill the lice and any eggs. Access to regular clean clothes will also help the cause.



There is nothing we can do to guarantee that we do not catch lice, however there are many precautions we can take and avoidance will give you the best chance. Educating children about avoidance techniques are vital in preventing spread and outbreaks. For further information, please visit our head lice prevention page. If you are looking at ways of avoiding 'crabs', it may be suggested that casual sexual partners are kept to a minimum, but again there's nothing that will guarantee you will not catch lice. For more information, please visit our pubic lice treatment page. Unfortunately for many in the world, body lice is the cause of much upset and discomfort. For more information, please visit our body lice page.

Thousands of people search to find out about the cause of lice and how to get rid of them. Fortunately there are so many products available on line, you should be able to find what you want without too much of a problem. We hope that you have found this article a useful guide and that any questions you may have had have been answered. You will find that this website is a great resource, including this article on the Cause of Lice, whether you are looking to learn more, purchase lice-related products or just seek some quiet information. Men, women and children are all affected by these parasites and we hope you have located the treatment you may need, be it a comb, lotion, cream, medication or shampoo. Treatments and remedies should be sought after quickly and if you have pubic-lice you should seek medical advice so they cannot be spread or infect others.

Cause of Lice

What is the cause of Head Lice

  • What is the Cause of Louse infestations
  • Get rid of parasites! Combs, Liquids, Lotions, Insecticides and Medication for control
  • Facts and Information about a body louse, head louse, hair louse and pubic louse
  • How do you get head-lice? Remedies for head-lice!
  • Need pubic-lice treatment? Find out what to do here at Getting Rid of Lice
  • Search our information on Combs!
  • Life Cycle of head-lice and information on possible prevention methods, treatments and avoidance
  • What is a lice-body? Take a look at our Pictures

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Cause of Lice - Getting Rid of Lice