Background Fine tooth lice combs fall into two classes based on the material from which their teeth are made: plastic or metal. Metal combs are further divided into those that are made from a flat sheet of metal, and hence have rectangular teeth, and those that have cylindrical teeth embedded in a plastic base.
Methods The efficacy of two fine tooth combs [LiceMeister® comb (metal) and Lady Jayne comb (plastic)] in removing head lice (Pediculus humanus var. capitis) and their eggs from the hair of children was evaluated after treatment with a viscous head lice product (Lice Blaster; Emerald Forest Pharmaceuticals Pty Ltd, Currumbin, Qld, Australia). The hair of 27 children was divided into two sections sagitally, and each comb was randomly assigned to one half of the hair, and the lice and eggs removed by the combs were counted.
Results In 96% of subjects, the Lice Meister comb removed more eggs than the Lady Jayne comb, with an average of three to four times more hatched, dead, and live eggs removed. The Lice Meister comb removed more lice than the Lady Jayne comb in 10 subjects, the same in eight subjects, and less in nine subjects.
Conclusion Overall, the Lice Meister comb is recommended as a more effective comb for use in controlling head lice infestations, whether employed with conditioner or with insecticide treatment. This appears to be the first study investigating the efficacy of nit combs in vivo. Further research is needed to determine which characteristics of fine tooth combs are the most important in removing head lice eggs.
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