Superspreaders and head lice

What are superspreaders?

There has been a lot of talk in the press about Covid-19 or Coronavirus superspreaders, and how they transmit disease. In terms of Covid-19, superspreaders carry the disease in greater quantities, passing it on more easily to those around them. 

Being a superspreader will depend on a number of factors, including how that person’s body fights disease, the degree of contact they have with others, and the pathogen itself.

Scientists believe that superspreaders make up 20% of the population and spread over 80% of the cases of a disease.

Additionally, some superspreaders do not show symptoms and continue with their activities whilst infecting others. According to some scientists, 50% of those who get Covid-19 are asymptomatic. 

Can superspreading occur in all infectious diseases?

There has been quite a lot of research on this and scientists agree that superspreading occurs in all infectious diseases. For example, superspreaders have played a role in the spread of Ebola, measles, tuberculosis and Covid-19.

Are head lice spread by superspreaders?

Yes. Head lice are an infectious disease and are therefore subject to the same issues as other infectious diseases. Superspreaders will carry more lice in their hair, so more of those head lice will crawl off onto others. 

A recent study concluded that “severe infestations are most likely initiated by a relatively large number of lice transferred at the same moment or within relatively short time spans”.

Additionally, only children with severe infestations have the number of lice necessary for this type of transmission, therefore acting as superspreaders.

The Hairforce is a unique professional service specialising in nit and head lice removal. We frequently clear very large and often severe infestations from children’s hair.

We counsel those children and their parents to be aware that they would, without doubt, have been responsible for superspreading head lice amongst everyone they have been in contact with.

If a person has a heavy infestation, it is very important to clear it for their health and to protect those around them. By shutting down a heavy infestation they, in turn, stop spreading it.

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