Biologically, the principal
difference between the head louse and the body
louse is in habitat. Their
physical appearance is so similar that it is almost impossible to visually tell
them apart. The World Health
Organization says that head lice as opposed to body lice is now the most
prevalent parasitic infestation of humans in the United States and Europe.
Head lice are ubiquitous in most developing countries.
The head louse occurs primarily on
the head and cements its eggs to the hair shafts.
It can also infest the eyebrows and eyelashes.
The body louse (commonly called the clothing louse) is found on the body
and attaches its eggs to fibers of clothing, especially along the seams of the
clothings inner surface. The
body louse feeds less frequently and is generally more robust than the head
louse. The crab
louse is quite distinct from the head and body louse in its appearance,
habits and location. It is
principally found in the pubic and perianal regions, but occasionally may occur
in coarse hair on other parts of the body (Buxton, 1947; Busvine, 1966; Sholdt
term "body lice" is sometimes used to mean scabies. This
confuses the issue when people seek help for their condition. Scabies
represent an entirely different organism.
Pubic lice have been documented
to infest the scalps of children but infestations of this type are not commonly