How is a diagnosis of pediculosis and pthiriasis (lice infestation) confirmed?

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

Because the diagnosis of infestation requires identification of a live louse and/or a viable nit, examining suggestive particles under the microscope confirms the diagnosis. Cellulose tape can be applied over an infested area to pick up lice and place them on a microscopic slide to be examined. A Wood lamp examination of the area considered to be infested shows yellow-green fluorescence of lice and nits. Dermoscopy can be used to reliably differentiate nymph-containing eggs from empty cases or pseudonits. [30]


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