Body Lice

Human Skin Parasites

Body lice are also called "cooties". Although closely related to the head louse, it differs biologically in a number of significant ways. Body lice lay their eggs in clothing, cementing them to fibers. Adult and immature lice take shelter in the seams and folds of clothing worn for long periods, moving onto the host only to feed. The life cycle is 9-10 days from egg to adult, unless clothing is removed at night, in which case complete development might take 2-4 weeks. However, these lice will die if clothing is not worn for several days. Body lice are known to transmit epidemic and relapsing typhus in some parts of the world. Body lice are found in the United States in indigent populations, particularly homeless individuals.

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