Evolution is alive and well, annoying at least for those in the medical industry. Just like the super viruses and mega bacteria plaguing the world, lice is becoming a bigger headache for children and adults alike. A new study by the Entomological Society of America has showed that almost all head lice in the United States are what are being called “Super-Lice”
The nation has over medicated for years and the end result has caused antibacterial resistant strains of what used to be a manageable illness. The vivid memories of swine flu or H1N1 presented how big a problem can get when a strain of illness becomes stronger and stronger. Children used to be given a handful of vaccines upon birth. Some mothers today were stricken with fear by the number of needles given to their child within the first couple minutes of the young one’s life. What the over use of medication has given us is a huge number of viruses that grow in strength exponentially between generations. Although not a bacteria or virus, head lice, like other bugs evolve faster than more complex organisms.
The problem is not sudden though. If it has been done, the United States has over done it. Pesticides, along with numerous over the counter medication has created a evolutionary rush for the insects involved. These drugs worked well at the time but the insects that are able to survive develop what is known as a TI genetic mutation. The genetic mutation allows for many insects to be completely immune to the ingredients in the common medication or pesticide in use. The mutation is embedded in the DNA of the insect and is passed down to the next generation keeping the species safe from attacks by the medicine.
Roughly ten percent of school children nation wide have missed at least a day of instruction due to the pain and itch that come with being afflicted. In efforts to maintain the outbreak, parents will also hold their child at home. With an increased resistance to common medicines, not only will the head lice be a bigger headache for the afflicted but also the ones who have to care for him/ her.
There is still hope. As always, as one product runs it’s course, a new one arises to take it’s place. Europe and South America has already made the change to a different chemical in order to stop such evolution. Both regions do not discredit the effectiveness of the medicine in question, they simply understand that using only one chemical as a main ingredient will eventually create the problem that has arisen in the United States. There a number of changes from previous installments of the medication beside the main chemical involved.
The new medications are obtainable through prescription instead of over the counter, increasing their price. They are also more convenient to use. Previous medicines require multiple applications while these newer drugs are of one time use. Although head lice are becoming a huge headache in the United States, solutions for their increased resistance are already on the market.
By Andy Diaz