The Circle of Lice: Anatomy of an Outbreak
Wednesday, August 15, 2012 • 3:14pm
They say there are six degrees of separation (at most) between every person on earth, meaning we are connected to every other person on earth by no more than 6 other people. With lice, I believe it’s fewer than 6. Here is the anatomy of an outbreak that came through my office. For the purposes of maintaining anonymity which is of paramount importance, I will change some of the details. This circle spanned multiple counties and affected 6 different families that came through my office. I have no idea how many more cases can be linked to this circle that I haven’t seen here.
Family 0 came Union County. We treated members of the family in our office. We advised them, as we do all of our clients, that they should inform those with whom they had close contact over the past 3-4 weeks in order to avoid coming in contact with lice again from someone to whom they may have spread it.
About a week and a half later we saw 2 more families (Family 1 and Family 2); one from Passaic County and one from Middlesex County. We treated members of each of those families. Shortly after that we saw another family (Family 3) from Union County and treated members of that family. Following that, Family 4, from Morris County, arrived and we treated members of that family as well. We later discovered that Family 4 and Family 0 were related, though no notification ever took place at the time that Family 0 was treated. Shortly after that, Family 5 arrived and we treated members of that family as well. All of this occurred over a period of more than 3 weeks.
What is evident is that lice spreads further than most people imagine it can. It is also obvious that not notifying those with whom you may have shared lice puts you at much greater risk of re-infesting post-treatment. In this case, Family 0 has been re-exposed a number of times through those other families who were not notified promptly. They may have jeopardized the success of their own treatment out of fear or embarrassment. This also proves that we are constantly being exposed to head lice, most times without knowing it. This is why weekly head checks are so important. With school starting, outbreaks will emerge all over New Jersey. Invest in a good comb and do your checks. It’s easier and less costly to treat one family member than it is to treat the entire family. At Lice Lifters® we like to say, “One Head, One Bed”…find the first person with lice and treat them promptly and effectively and they will be the only person you need to treat.
Lisa Rafal is a Head Lice Treatment Professional whose passion for lice treatment began when her family first encountered the problem back in 2008. In 2011, Lisa opened the first franchise location of Lice Lifters® in Clark, NJ and opened her second office in Fairfield, NJ in January 2012. Her personal missions are to educate people about head lice, how to treat the problem and most of all to keep toxic pesticides off the heads of children everywhere! Visit www.liceliftersnj.com for more information
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