Mutant Lice Found in 25 States, Resistant To Most Common Treatments


Mutant head lice may be headed to a school near you, and they’re drug resistant.

Researchers from the American Chemical Society have found lice with genetic mutations in at least half of America.

West Virginia and Pennsylvania did not appear on the list, but Ohio, Kentucky, Virginia and Maryland did.

Lice are said to have developed a high level of resistance to the most common treatments recommended by doctors in the following states:

  • Alabama
  • Arizona
  • Arkansas
  • California
  • Connecticut
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Kansas
  • Kentucky
  • Maine
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • Minnesota
  • Missouri
  • North Carolina
  • Ohio
  • Rhode Island
  • South Carolina
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Virginia
  • Washington
  • Wisconsin

According to researcher Kyong Yoon, Ph.d., if chemicals are used over and over, lice will eventually develop resistance. 

“We have to think before we use a treatment. The good news is head lice don’t carry disease. They’re more a nuisance than anything else,” said Yoon.

Lice can still be controlled by using different chemicals, some of which are available only by prescription, according to researchers.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


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