Comprehensive pediculosis screening programs for elementary schools

J Sch Health. 1990 May;60(5):212-4. doi: 10.1111/j.1746-1561.1990.tb05917.x.


Pediculosis (head lice) is a major school and community health problem with an estimated 6-12 million cases annually resulting in $367 million a year in consumer costs, lost parental wages, and school system expenses. The greatest incidence is seen in children ages 5-12; however, the incidence in the 24-36 year old group is increasing due to their exposure to infested children. Developing comprehensive pediculosis screening programs in elementary schools provides an effective method for preventing epidemics from occurring by accomplishing early detection. These programs also promote primary health care and education among elementary schoolchildren, school officials, educators, and parents. An effective program includes screening the entire school three times a year: mid-September, December, and near spring vacation, and enforcing a "No Nit" policy. Establishing a successful approach to control pediculosis results in decreased incidence and transmission, reduced absenteeism, and financial savings for parents and school districts.

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Lice Infestations / economics
  • Lice Infestations / epidemiology
  • Lice Infestations / prevention & control*
  • Mass Screening*
  • School Health Services / organization & administration*
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Workforce