Background: Ectoparasites are predominant parasitic infections among children. Head lice (Pediculus humanus capitis) are transmitted parasites, mainly among school-aged children. Although, head lice are not a chief health hazardor or a vector for disease, they are a public social problem. The transmitted infections by a parasitic bite, may reach the blood which causes health problems for children and affects their health.
Objective: To investigate the effects of infection with head lice on Immunoglobulin E (IgE), vitamin D3, Zinc, and blood parameters.
Patients and Methods: Samples including skin swapping and blood samples were collected from 300 children who were examined at AL-Batool Maternity Teaching Hospital (AL-BMTH) and some medical centers. Skin scraping and swapping were examined microscopically for detection of the parasite. Blood samples were analyzed for immunological and blood parameter estimation, during the period from 1st October 2021 to the end of May 2022. Samples were sent to the parasitology and hematology laboratories in AL-BMTH to identify the parasitic infections and their effects.
Results: The samples include 180 females and 120 males, 90 samples of the 300 were epidemic with lice infection, 48.9% of them were at age 1-5 years, 35.6% were at age 6-10 and 15.6 % were at age 11-15, 91% of the infected children were females, while only 9 % of the infected children were males. The blood analysis indicated that the levels of vitamin D and the mineral Zinc, were lower in children infected with head lice compared to the control, while IgE was higher. RBC and Hb showed a lower level in infected children than in control, whereas WBC was at a high ratio in most patients.
Conclusion: Parasites cause many diseases in children in particular. They spread in rural and crowded places and affect the activity and vitality of children.
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