Research presented at the 250th American Chemical Society meeting last week has given parents around the nation cause for concern. The genetic scientists found more than 95 percent of lice populations tested across the United States had high levels of gene mutations.

More than 25 states have now hosted a form of the “mutant” head lice, most varieties of which are resistant to over the counter treatments.

Laura Edison, an epidemiologist from the Georgia Department of Public Health, said that the over-the-counter treatments can still be effective but users must be very thorough.

She points out that there’s more research to be done and there is still likely a lot more resistance occuring that hasn’t been found yet by scientists. But she cautioned parents is to keep treating their children the same way they did before this new study.

“It may not kill all the lice and you may have an infection. That can be prevented by doing thorough combing. Eliminating lice and eggs,’ Edison said.

Lice can always be eliminated by the careful removal of the parasite itself and its eggs, which are visible to the human eye. But the process is challenging for people with thicker or longer hair as finding every last egg is difficult.

As a result, people have come to rely on specialty shampoos to do this tedious job but it looks as though this once simple cure could be in danger.

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