Mutant head lice invade over 25 states, including Indiana

(Photo Provided/WIAT)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH/WIAT) — According to a new study from Southern Illinois University – Edwardsville, a new and potentially drug-resistant species of lice is showing up on the heads of children in at least 25 states, including Indiana.

The study shows that 95 percent of lice populations collected from 30 states tested positive for a mutation that’s resistant to over-the-counter treatments.

These mutations are reportedly caused by widespread use of insecticides used to kill everything from mosquitoes to bed bugs.

With a new school year starting, health officials recommend inspecting children’s heads and physically picking the lice off of the scalp if lice are seen.

Also, fight the instinct to over-treat or give preventative treatments because that actually contributes to the problem.

Debbie Busdiecker with the Ohio Board of Health said, “It’s important not to treat the whole family, because if other people don’t have it, then you treat them, they could become resistant to that shampoo.”

If the lice won’t die or are not responding to over-the-counter shampoo, a doctor can prescribe a shampoo with stronger chemicals. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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