Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Multi-country review shows that Bug Buster Kits reduce head lice and social stigma

Working with parents and schools to provide a bug busting approach to head lice is helping to reduce infestation levels, tackle health inequalities and reduce healthcare costs, according to a review in the October issue of Journal of Clinical Nursing.

A team from the UK charity Community Hygiene Concern led a review of studies carried out in the UK, Belgium and Denmark since 1996.

“The best results are obtained when parents are supplied with a free Bug Buster Kit, which includes special combs and instructions on how to detect and eradicate head lice with normal shampoos and conditioners” explains Joanna Ibarra, Programme Co-ordinator for the charity.

“The Bug Buster Kit can be reused by a whole family for a year or more” she adds. “This enables families of all socio-economic classes to participate in a whole-school approach.

“In the UK, promoting the bug busting approach is reducing primary care expenditure on treatment for head lice and professional time spent with worried families. As a result, healthcare providers can spend more time with the few families who need one-to-one guidance.”

The review was carried out with the help of experts from each of the three countries featured.

Key findings included:

•In Chester (UK), the local primary care trust saw a 24 per cent reduction in prescribing costs for lice medication between April 2004 and March 2005 and local healthcare staff reported spending less time advising parents. Demand for insecticide medication fell and demand for Bug Buster Kits rose.

•677 children from three schools took part in the Ghent (Belgium) study, with active infestation rates in the schools ranging from 13 per cent to 20 per cent. Involving the whole school community in a bug busting approach – including children, parents and school, health and community staff – reduced infestations by two-thirds.

•Parents who took part in the Portland (UK) study reported that lice problems had been minimised and could be easily controlled. The majority of the families studied in detail were using the Bug Buster Kits weekly or monthly and only a small minority needed hands-on help to boost their confidence and skills.

•Bug Buster Kits became available in all pharmacists in Copenhagen (Denmark) in 2000 and an annual Great Louse Day event was launched in 2002. Parents who bought the kits said that they found them easy to use and that they were effective when it came to detecting and treating head lice. They were also much more affordable than insecticides of dubious efficacy and safety.

•Head teachers of schools who took part in a bug busting initiative in Milton Keynes (UK) reported that complaints about head lice had gone from common to rare. “Having 27 motivators – the average number of pupils in a class – makes all the difference” said one head teacher. Four out of every ten families returned a confidential questionnaire and of those nearly two-thirds of those said they’d found lice using the kit.

“Evidence from the UK and other European countries shows that getting the whole school community involved in bug busting makes it much easier to control infestations and reduce health inequalities” concludes Joanna Ibarra.

“Parents support the bug busting approach because everyone is treated equally and the stigma associated with catching head lice is reduced.

“They also prefer a system that uses normal shampoos and conditioners to mechanically remove lice, rather than expensive formulated products to kill them.

“Costs are reduced for healthcare systems that provide such medication on prescription, and for parents living in countries where they are not available on prescription. This is a particular advantage for low-income families who struggle to afford them.

“Another advantage is that health professionals can focus their time on the small number of families who need extra support.”

Community Hygiene Concern (, which plays a key role in the UK’s national bug busting days, was established with funding from the Department of Health and King’s Fund. It is currently advising schools on local initiatives for the next national event on 31 October.

Annette Whibley | alfa
Further information:

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Diagnoses: When Are Several Opinions Better Than One?
19.07.2016 | Max-Planck-Institut für Bildungsforschung

nachricht High in calories and low in nutrients when adolescents share pictures of food online
07.04.2016 | University of Gothenburg

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Novel light sources made of 2D materials

Physicists from the University of Würzburg have designed a light source that emits photon pairs. Two-photon sources are particularly well suited for tap-proof data encryption. The experiment's key ingredients: a semiconductor crystal and some sticky tape.

So-called monolayers are at the heart of the research activities. These "super materials" (as the prestigious science magazine "Nature" puts it) have been...

Im Focus: Etching Microstructures with Lasers

Ultrafast lasers have introduced new possibilities in engraving ultrafine structures, and scientists are now also investigating how to use them to etch microstructures into thin glass. There are possible applications in analytics (lab on a chip) and especially in electronics and the consumer sector, where great interest has been shown.

This new method was born of a surprising phenomenon: irradiating glass in a particular way with an ultrafast laser has the effect of making the glass up to a...

Im Focus: Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves

Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion

Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Steering a fusion plasma toward stability

28.10.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Bioluminescent sensor causes brain cells to glow in the dark

28.10.2016 | Life Sciences

Activation of 2 genes linked to development of atherosclerosis

28.10.2016 | Life Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>