“Louseborne relapsing fever (LBRF) was once a cosmopolitan disease but it now occurs only in the Horn of Africa. Recent cases in refugees to Europe made LBRF topical again. Crowded boarding houses and church dwellings in Ethiopia are analogous to the crowded air-raid shelters of World War II. Thus, we might learn from experiments the London School of Tropical Hygiene and Medicine conducted during World War II. When the vector of Borrelia recurrentis (Pediculus humanus lice) were held away from the host for 10 days, 100% of nymphal and adult lice starved to death and 100% of eggs did not hatch. We hypothesize that holding infested clothes away from hosts in plastic shopping bags will kill enough lice to control LBRF in Ethiopia. Owning 2 sets of clothes might be useful; 1 set might be held in a plastic shopping bag for 10 days to kill lice and their eggs.”
Stephen C. Barker and Dayana Barker. Emerging Infectious Diseases. 2019; Volume 25, Number 2.