What is the pathophysiology of human lice in pediculosis and pthiriasis (lice infestation)?

Updated: Mar 01, 2018
  • Author: Lyn C C Guenther, MD, FRCPC, FAAD; Chief Editor: Michael Stuart Bronze, MD  more...
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Answer

Lice are blood-sucking insects. Human lice have small anterior mouthparts with 6 hooklets that aid their attachment to human skin during feeding. The sucking mouthparts retract into the head when the lice are not feeding. In general, lice feed approximately 5 times per day. In each species, the female louse is slightly larger than her male counterpart.


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