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Bug busting was less effective than malathion lotion for head lice in children

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QUESTION: Is bug busting (wet combing with a fine toothed comb) as effective as malathion lotion for head lice in children?


Randomised (unclear allocation concealment), blinded (outcome assessors) controlled trial with follow up at 7 days after completion of treatment.


24 primary schools in an area previously identified to have lice with intermediate resistance to malathion, in North Wales, UK.


81 children aged 3–14 years who were identified by school nurses as having live, moving head lice; had not used insecticide lotion in the previous 2 weeks; and had no broken skin on the scalp. The sample included children from the participating schools and …

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  • Source of funding: Wales Office for Research and Development.

  • For correspondence:Dr R J Roberts, Department of Public Health, North Wales Health Authority, Mold CH7 1PZ, UK. Fax +44 (0)1352 700043.