louse, human

Any of three types of sucking louse that infest humans. The body louse (mainly Pediculus humanus humanus, also called human louse or cootie) and head louse (P. h. capitis) are spread by person-to-person contact and through shared clothing, bedding, combs, and other personal items.

Body lice carry the organisms that cause relapsing fever, trench fever, and typhus. Head lice may cause impetigo. Both are readily spread under conditions of overcrowding, especially among children. The crab louse, or pubic louse (Phthirus pubis) infests primarily the pubic region and occasionally other hairy regions. Its first pair of legs is smaller than the other two pairs, making it look like a crab. Crab lice are transmitted primarily through sexual intercourse. Lice infestations can be quickly cured with shampoos, soaps, and lotions containing benzene hexachloride, along with the thorough washing of bedding and clothing.

Male human louse (Pediculus humanus; magnified about 15 ...

William E. Ferguson

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • louse — n. /lows/; v. /lows, lowz/, n., pl. lice /luys/ for 1 3, louses for 4, v., loused, lousing. n. 1. any small, wingless insect of the order Anoplura (sucking louse), parasitic on humans and other mammals and having mouthparts adapted for sucking,… …   Universalium

  • human — humanlike, adj. humanness, n. /hyooh meuhn/ or, often, /yooh /, adj. 1. of, pertaining to, characteristic of, or having the nature of people: human frailty. 2. consisting of people: the human race. 3. of or pertaining to the social aspect of… …   Universalium

  • louse — [lous; ] for v., also [ louz] n. pl. lice and, for LOUSE 4, louses [ME lous < OE lus (pl. lys), akin to Ger laus < IE * lūs > Welsh lleuen, Bret laouen] 1. a) any of an order (Anoplura) of small, flat, wingless insects with sucking… …   English World dictionary

  • louse — (n.) parasitic insect infecting human hair and skin, O.E. lus, from P.Gmc. *lus (Cf. O.N. lus, M.Du. luus, Du. luis, O.H.G. lus, Ger. Laus), from PIE *lus louse (Cf. Welsh lleuen louse ). Slang meaning obnoxious person is from 1630s. The plural …   Etymology dictionary

  • louse — ► NOUN 1) (pl. lice) a small wingless parasitic insect which infests human skin and hair. 2) (pl. lice) a related insect which lives on the skin of mammals or birds. 3) (pl. louses) informal a contemptible person. ► VERB (louse u …   English terms dictionary

  • Louse — Lice redirects here. For the infection, see Pediculosis. For the district of Diyarbakır Province in Turkey, see Lice, Turkey. For other uses, see Louse (disambiguation). Phthiraptera …   Wikipedia

  • human louse — ▪ insect also called  body louse   a common species of sucking louse in the family Pediculidae (suborder Anoplura, order Phthiraptera; see sucking louse) that is found wherever human beings live, feeds on blood, and can be an important carrier of …   Universalium

  • louse —    The louse is a parasitic insect which infests human hair and skin. The word has been applied to human beings who are considered to be obnoxious since at least the seventeenth century. ‘You unfaithful louse’ is used as an insult in The Half… …   A dictionary of epithets and terms of address

  • louse — noun 1》 (plural lice) a small wingless parasitic insect which infests human skin and hair. [Pediculus humanus (see body louse, head louse).]     ↘a related insect which lives on the skin of mammals or birds. [Orders Anoplura (sucking lice) and… …   English new terms dictionary

  • louse — /laʊs / (say lows) noun (plural lice /laɪs / (say luys) for defs 1 and 2, louses for def. 3) 1. any of the small, wingless, blood sucking insects of the order Phthiraptera, including several species associated with humans, as the human louse,… …   Australian English dictionary

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