Scalp Parasites in Humans

The infection of human scalp skin is not only due to bacteria and fungi. But it has been reported in clinical studies that there are several parasites that infect the human’s scalp apart from bacteria and fungi. Few parasites like insects, worms, and protozoa are identified that infect the human’s scalp and skin. The dermatological diseases caused by these parasites are called cutaneous diseases. In this article, we are going to write about scalp parasites in humans and about the clinical, pathological, and therapeutic aspects of diseases caused by these parasites. The details of each of these parasitic diseases are given below.

Scabies

Scabies is the most common skin disease. It is caused by a human parasitic mite called Sarcoptes Scabies. This cutaneous disease not only infects lower body skin but also infects the scalp’s skin. Sarcoptes Scabies live on the skin surface, but lay eggs inside the skin surface. Itching and appearance of a red rash on the infected site is the main symptom of scabies.

It is a highly transmitted disease. Transfer from infected person to a healthy person via direct contact or by share clothes and furniture.

It is the only scalp parasite that migrates to the scalp only in the chronic stage. That causes hair loss on the infected site.

But fortunately, scabies is completely curable. Doctors mostly advise oral medicine like creams, lotions, and jells to be used on the infected site. The implementation of these medicine eliminates scabies mites from the skin. Antibiotics are taken in combination with the skin infection. Its symptoms appear very slowly that is why doctors advise a common treatment to the people around an infected person.

Pediculosis

It is the second most common skin disease caused by parasites in humans. The species of Anoplura suborder, the most known humans scalp parasite, are responsible for the cause of this disease in humans. Based on etiological agents’ pediculosis is subdivided into three categories i.e. Scalp Pediculosis or Pediculosis Capitis, Pediculus Corporis, and Pediculus Pubis.

The most common symptoms of pediculus are intensive and itching pruritus, papules, scabs, and abrasions.

Its clinical diagnosis is very simple by observing the parasites in the hair follicles. Some time may present in the folds of clothes.

There are various topical products for the treatment of all three types of pediculosis.

For the treatment of Scalp Pediculosis or Pediculosis Capitis dermatologists suggests the implementation of Permethrin 1% shampoo on the scalp for 10 minutes. Permethrin 5% (at night) and Piperonyl butoxide shampoo can also be used for its treatment.

In oil 5% benzyl alcohol in mineral oil is the FDA-approved oil for the treatment of Scalp pediculosis. In lotion dimethicone, 4% and Ivermectin 0.5% topical lotions are the FDA-approved products.   

Tungiasis

Tungiasis is another cutaneous disease caused by the smallest human scalp parasite called Tunga Penetrans. These parasites are found mostly in deserts where pigs are living because it hosts in both humans and pigs.  

The pruritus caused by this disease is very painful. Its female lays eggs inside the skin that appear as yellowish nodules with a black center like honeybee camp.

Tungiasis treatment needs the removal of flea from the infected site. Antiseptics and other oral products like oral thiabendazole for ten days and dimethicone for seven days.

Bedbug Dermatitis (cimicid IASIS)

Specific species of cimicids with specific genes i.e. lectularius and Hemiptera are humans parasites. They are also known as bedbugs. These parasites are mostly found in furniture and mattresses. They mostly bite humans on the face, hands, and neck.

No specific medicines are used for treatment, in severe case dexamethasone cream are applied at the site of the bite.

Myiasis

Myiasis is caused by a parasite called Diptera. A larva of Diptera infiltrates into mucous membrane, skin, and other organs of humans. Myiasis is classified as Primary (Furunculoid myiasis) and Secondary Myiasis. In primary myiasis, larva invades healthy cells, while in secondary myiasis fly lays eggs in already infected cells.

Treatment needs the removal of larva and application of ivermectin and mercury oxycyanide 1%.

Demodicosis

This cutaneous disease is caused by a parasitic mite called Demodex Folliculorum. Which is a holoparasite of the hair follicle. These parasites mostly invade the chest and face area. Demodex causes inflammation and bacterial infection in hair follicles. It mostly affects middle-aged women. Demodicosis is treated with ivermectin and metronidazole.

Cutaneous Larva Migrans

This is a skin disease caused by the nematodes found in dogs and cats. These nematodes penetrate the skin and cause infection. The etiological agent of this disease is Ancylostoma brasiliensis.

It mostly affects feet and legs and seldomly appears on the other parts of the body. Intense itching pruritus is found in the infected areas.

Doctors suggest systematic treatment for Cutaneous Larva Migrans. They advise Albendazole at a dose of 15 mg/kg/day for three days and Ivermectin 200 micrograms per kg. The same dose may be repeated after seven days.    

Lyme Disease

Lyme Disease is a skin disease caused by the bite of a tick. Its second name is Lyme borreliosis. The infection in this disease is caused by the six known species of Sensu Lato Complex. The site of infection is known as erythema migrans. Which appear at the site of the bit after 5 to 7 days. Erythema Migrans appear as an itchy and red rash on the skin. It causes severe symptoms in only 20% of patients. The symptoms of Lyme Disease, in severe cases, are headache, fever, and a red rash on the skin.

Lyme Disease can be diagnosed from different aspects that include epidemiological, clinical, and laboratory.

Doctors advise different medicines for the treatment of Lyme Disease that mostly include antibiotics. The list of antibiotics that can be given in Lyme Disease includes amoxicillin, doxycycline, ceftriaxone, etc.

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