Because parents and school health professionals rely heavily on CDC’s guidance, it is imperative that CDC’s information be kept as current and accurate as possible.
NEWTON, Mass. (PRWEB) September 22, 2020
The COVID-19 pandemic has been a striking reminder of the need for preparedness regarding public health issues. As children return to school and other group settings in this challenging environment, the National Pediculosis Association (NPA) wants to minimize pediculosis (head lice) as an additional burden by ensuring that parents have access to public health information that is current, accurate and trustworthy.
To this end, NPA reviewed the website guidance on head lice published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and identified a number of concerns. In June 2020, NPA submitted these concerns to CDC and requested that, as the US authority on communicable diseases, CDC reexamine its advice on pediculosis. NPA’s concerns are:
- CDC focuses on reactive checking and treatment without mentioning the value of proactive screening for head lice
- CDC omits combing as a diagnostic screening method
- The treatment options provided by CDC are limited to chemical treatments only
- The language used by CDC when discussing chemical treatments does not adequately warn parents of the potential danger associated with chemical treatments
- The source of CDC’s information on pediculicide products is not disclosed nor validated as impartial and unaffiliated with product manufacturers
- Unlike the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), CDC does not acknowledge combing as a valid non-chemical alternative to the use of pesticide treatments
- CDC uses language that is overly technical and complicated
- CDC inaccurately rules out head lice as a vector of disease
- CDC concludes that “Head lice should not be considered as a medical or public health hazard” which conflicts with its own recommendations to use pesticide treatments which are themselves medical and public health hazards and ignores that head lice are communicable parasites.
CDC responded that the agency “regularly reviews and updates [its] web pages,” would “share [NPA’s] concerns with its subject matter experts,” and would “consider [NPA’s] suggestions when [it] next update[s] the pages.” CDC further explained, “CDC’s head lice resources were last updated in summer 2019” and “are scheduled to be reviewed (and updated, as necessary) as part of a routine three-year review cycle in summer 2022. We also review/update pages on an ad hoc basis.”
While appreciating the demands of the current public health environment under COVID-19, NPA urges CDC to act promptly on reviewing and updating its information on head lice, rather than waiting for the agency’s regular scheduled review. Because parents and school health professionals rely heavily on CDC’s guidance, it is imperative that it be kept as current and accurate as possible.
When a child has head lice, parents and others shouldn’t have to wait for sound treatment advice from the authorities they rely on. Now – in September, which is Head Lice Prevention Month – is the perfect time for CDC to take action to ensure that its published advice on head lice is thorough, accurate, parent-friendly and up to date.
“Because it’s not about lice, it’s about kids.”
There’s a critical difference between treating lice and treating a child infested with lice.
The National Pediculosis Association,® Inc. Mission Statement:
The NPA is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated since 1983 to protecting children, their families and their environment from the misuse and abuse of prescription and over-the-counter pesticide treatments for lice and scabies.
Pediculosis (the medical term for an infestation of lice) provides a public health opportunity to teach important lessons about communicable disease preparedness, responsible personal behaviors, environmental health, and the importance of learning about pharmaceutical remedies before using them on our children and ourselves.
NPA is committed to setting the highest possible public health standards for children as they relate to the communicability and treatment of head lice. NPA has been the leader in raising pediculosis as a public health priority and a pioneer in public health education and research on pediculosis.
The NPA developed the LiceMeister® comb in 1997 to accomplish its mission by providing a higher standard for lice combing tools and a safe, cost-effective treatment alternative to pesticides. All proceeds from sales of the LiceMeister comb allow the NPA to be self-sustaining and independent from product manufacturers.
The National Pediculosis Association,® Inc. (NPA)
1005 Boylston Street / STE 343
Newton, MA 02461
617-905-0176 / firstname.lastname@example.org
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