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Illinois Researchers Find Mutant Strain Of Lice Resistant To Treatments

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Just in time for students to return back to school, a group of researchers found a mutant strain of lice resistant to over-the-counter treatments. Just in time for students to return back to school, a group of researchers found a mutant strain of lice resistant to over-the-counter treatments.
OKLAHOMA CITY -

Just in time for students to return back to school, a group of researchers found a mutant strain of lice resistant to over-the-counter treatments. The study found about half of the country had this type of lice.

Health officials say it's not time to panic despite the alarming findings. They say over-the-counter treatments, like shampoos and knit combs, should still be your first line of defense against lice.

The study's findings alone are enough to make you start itching. Lice, those tiny bugs, make your head their new home. Sometimes over-the-counter medication is not effective anymore.

“Which is not too surprising because if you use a certain product over time, certain insects including head lice are going to develop some level of resistance,” Laurence Bursend, Epidemiologist.

Oklahoma was not one of the 25 states researchers from Southern Illinois University found to have developed this resistance. But, State Epidemiologist Laurence Bursend says we can't rule it out.

“It's possible, but there isn't any research that we've heard of that's out there or studies that have been conducted recently,” said Bursend.

Pharmacists have noticed customers coming back after the first over-the-counter lice treatments weren’t successful.

“Last couple of years it's been kind of coming on. You're seeing more and more,” said Dani Lynch with Thrifty Pharmacy.

Still, health officials say to keep using the over-the-counter treatments.

“What's really important for parents to know is that the products are still effective to some level and to utilize the according to instructions,” said Bursend.

If you find the over-the-counter products aren't working your doctor can give you a prescription. Unfortunately it's usually not covered by insurance and often is costly.

News 9 checked in with several school districts Thursday, who reported no issue so far with the mutant strain of lice.

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