Self-diagnosis of active head lice infestation by individuals from an impoverished community: high sensitivity and specificity

  • Daniel Pilger University of Medicine; Campus Benjamin Franklin; Institute for Microbiology and Hygiene
  • Adak Khakban University of Medicine; Campus Benjamin Franklin; Institute for Microbiology and Hygiene
  • Jorg Heukelbach James Cook University; Tropical Medicine and Rehabilitation Sciences; School of Public Health
  • Hermann Feldmeier University of Medicine; Campus Benjamin Franklin; Institute for Microbiology and Hygiene
Keywords: Head lice, Epidemiology, Diagnosis, Sensitivity, Specificity, Predictive values

Abstract

To compare sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value (PPV) and negative predictive value (NPV) of self-diagnosis for head lice infestation with visual inspection, we conducted a study in an urban slum in Brazil. Individuals were asked about active head lice infestation (self-diagnosis); we performed visual inspection and thereafter wet combing (gold standard). Of the 175 individuals included, 77 (44%) had an active head lice infestation. For self-diagnosis, sensitivity (80.5%), specificity (91.8%), PPV (88.6%) and NPV (85.7%) were high. Sensitivity of visual inspection was 35.1%. Public health professionals can use self-diagnosis as a diagnostic tool, to estimate accurately prevalence of pediculosis in a community, and to monitor ongoing intervention strategies.

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Published
2008-04-01
How to Cite
Pilger, D., Khakban, A., Heukelbach, J., & Feldmeier, H. (2008). Self-diagnosis of active head lice infestation by individuals from an impoverished community: high sensitivity and specificity . Revista Do Instituto De Medicina Tropical De São Paulo, 50(2), 121-122. Retrieved from http://www.revistas.usp.br/rimtsp/article/view/31164
Section
Brief Communication