pediculosis corporis


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Related to pediculosis corporis: pediculosis pubis, scabies

pe·dic·u·lo·sis cor·'po·ris

the presence of body lice that live in the seams of clothing. Biting causes pruritus and excoriations.

pediculosis corporis

Pediculosis caused by the body louse, Pediculus humanus. It is transmitted by direct contact or by wearing infested clothing and is often transmitted in crowded or unhygienic conditions. The body louse occasionally is the vector for several important transmissible illnesses, including epidemic typhus, trench fever, and relapsing fever.

Symptoms

Infestation with body lice is marked by intense itching, esp. on the neck, trunk, and thighs. Tiny hemorrhagic points identify the bites. Generalized excoriation, mild fever, and fatigue characterize heavy infestations. In severe cases, pustules may develop.

Treatment

The patient first bathes with hot soap and water and then applies prescribed creams containing approved pesticides to affected areas.

Patient care

The patient should be assessed for diseases that body lice may transmit. If the patient is homeless or impoverished, social services agencies should be contacted to assist him or her to find shelter and clean clothing. If the patient lives with others, close personal contacts or family members should be screened for lice. All clothing, furniture, rugs, and bedding must be washed with hot water or dry cleaned. To prevent transmission of pediculosis among hospitalized patients, all high-risk patients should be examined for evidence of hair or body lice infestation on admission. Health care professionals should be careful to include older adults who are dependent on others for care, those coming from nursing homes or other assisted living facilities, and people living in crowded conditions.

See also: pediculosis