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Lice - Cause

Lice are very easily spread, usually through close personal contact. Lice infestation may be caused by any of the three types of lice:

  • Head lice camera.gif may be spread through close personal contact, shared personal items (combs, brushes, hats, helmets, clothing, or earphones), or shared bedding.
  • Pubic lice camera.gif are spread mainly through sexual contact and are very contagious. Most people become infected after a single exposure to an infected person. The lice and eggs may also survive long enough on personal items such as clothing or towels to be spread to another person. A child who has pubic lice may have a history of sexual abuse.
  • Body lice camera.gif are most often spread by contact with personal items, especially clothing and hats. They are sometimes spread by direct personal contact.

Lice are spread from human to human. Pets don't get head lice and can't spread them to humans.

    This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: January 23, 2014
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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