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.