U.S. officials are warning that drug-resistant head lice are extremely likely to be heading to a school district near you this year, HealthDay News reported recently.
So far, at least 25 states have reported drug-resistant head lice, which do not respond to common, over-the-counter treatments, according to a new analysis cited by the health news agency.
For the longest time, consumers have turned to permethrin, which is part of the pyrethroid class of insecticides, to combat head lice, mosquitoes, bedbugs and other insects. However, the analysis noted, continued exposure to permethrin has caused a large swath of the problematic insects to develop genetic mutations that wind up rendering the common treatment useless.
“It’s a very classic resistance story,” study lead author Kyong Yoon, an assistant professor in the biological sciences and environmental sciences program at Southern Illinois University in Edwardsville, wrote.