'Super Lice' Outbreak: 5 Things To Know About The Plague Affecting 25 States

super lice
A plague of "super lice" that is resistant to over-the-counter medicine has been reported in 25 states. (Photo credit should read ALAIN JOCARD/AFP/Getty Images)

An epidemic known as "Super lice" is now present in 25 states; according to different reports many doctors have shared that the insects are resistant to over the counter and prescription medicine, alarming everyone in the country. “There is nothing really ‘super’ about them, of course; they are simply lice that are more resistant than previous generations to permethrin, the active ingredient in many treatments,” said Justin Tally, Oklahoma State University Cooperative Extension entomologist.“A synthetic chemical, permethrin has been incredibly effective throughout most of the past quarter century, plus it boasted low toxicity to humans and pets,” he continued, “over time, however, only lice that survived permethrin treatments went on to reproduce, passing on their innate resistance to the ingredient.”

Here are the top five things to know about the outbreak:

1. Since 2015, the insects which can’t be killed with traditional medications, has hit 25 states."What we found was that 104 out of the 109 lice populations we tested had high levels of gene mutations, which have been linked to resistance to pyrethroids.” Kyong Yoon, Ph.D said. Check out the map below to see which states are affected by the plague.

LiceMapHR Lice populations in the states in pink have developed a high level of resistance to some of the most common treatments. Kyong Yoon, Ph.D.

2. While the creatures are uncomfortable, we have good news for you; they don't spread disease, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports, adding that the lice move by crawling; they cannot hop or fly.

3. How did it spread? Much like regular lice, "super lice" was spread by direct contact with the hair of an infested person, the CDC suggests you should avoid sharing combs, hats, hairbrushes, pillows, and helmets also don't forget to change your clothes after treatment, wash your sheets, clothes and toys and put in a hot dryer.

4. Symptoms include tickling feeling of something moving in the hair, sores on the head caused by scratching, itching, and difficulty of sleeping because they are most active in the dark.

5. There is treatment after all. AirAllé is FDA approved, it costs about $170 by the Lice Clinics of America and it may be covered by insurance. “We use heated air and we dehydrate the lice and the eggs in a single treatment,” CEO, Claire Roberts said “It takes about an hour, and we guarantee it.”

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Juliana Barrera

Juliana Barrera started her mass communications career in the entertainment business at Estefan Enterprises, where she successfully participated in a variety of projects related to production, marketing and public relations for the company. She worked for three years as a writer and editor at La Vox Media group, the platform for an independent voice for Hispanic America. Additionally, she completed an internship at VIACOM  engaging audiences through pro-social initiatives. 

Juliana is a graduate student from Florida International University, her major is mass communications  and she has a minor in psychology. Her work has been published by HuffPost LatinoVoices, Latin Times, VOXXI, politic 365, La Opinión and others.