Pediculosis capitis in northern Jordan


Zuhair S. Amr, bsc, msc, phd
Department of Biology
Jordan University of Science and Technology
PO Box 3030



Background  Little is known about the prevalence of pediculosis among school students in northern Jordan.

Objective  To study the incidence of pediculosis among school students of different socio-economic levels in northern Jordan.

Method  A total of 2519 school students of both sexes enrolled in eight elementary governmental schools were examined for the presence of Pediculus capitis. Schools were grouped into four socio-economic classes: very low (VL), low (L), medium (M), and high (H). The chi-squared test was performed to analyze the results.

Results  Overall, 338 students (13.4%) were infested with nits, immature or adult P. capitis. Girls showed a higher prevalence (14.5%) than boys (11.1%).

Statistical analysis  for socio-economic classes and infestation rates yielded a significant effect of the four classes on infestation. This conclusion was evident among schoolgirls, where infestation rates were 28.8%, 18.9%, 6.1%, and 0.2% in VL, L, M, and H socio-economic classes, respectively. Schoolchildren in the age group 8–9 years exhibited higher prevalence rates (16% in boys and 22.1% in girls), while prevalences declined to 10.2% and 6.6% among boys and girls aged 10–12 years, respectively.

Conclusions  This study reveals that socio-economic status is a major factor influencing the occurrence of pediculosis among school students of both sexes in Jordan. A national campaign should be implemented to enhance public awareness.