Medical Journal of Malaysia

MJM, Vol 70 Supplement 1 September 2015

Prevalence and predictors of pediculosis capitis among the primary school students in the Hulu Langat District, Selangor

Nor Faiza Mohd Tohit, Lekhraj Rampal, Lye Mann-Sann

Department of Community Health, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Universiti Putra Malaysia, Serdang


Background: Pediculosis infestation is endemic both in developing and developed countries leading to various physical, economical and psychological consequences. The objective of this study is to determine the prevalence and predictors of pediculosis capitis among primary school children, Hulu Langat District, Malaysia.

Material and Methods: An analytic cross-sectional study using cluster random sampling method was carried out in Hulu Langat District, Malaysia. A self-administered pretested questionnaire was used to collect the data among children aged 7 - 12 years old. Hair and scalp examination was also carried out. Multivariate logistic regression was used to control for potential confounding.

Results: The overall mean age of the 1, 336 respondents was 9.3 years. Majority of the respondents were males (52.8%) and Malays (79.5%), and 81.3% of the fathers and 77.3% for the mothers had at least a secondary education. The overall prevalence of pediculosis capitis was 15.3%. The prevalence of pediculosis was significantly higher among females (28.4%) compared to males (3.7%, p=0.001).  Multivariate logistic regression analysis showed that age 10 years or more (odds ratio (OR) 2.34, 95% CI: 1.67-3.27), female gender (OR 10.26, 95% CI: 6.62-15.90), history of contact with an infested person (OR 2.11, 95% CI= 1.51-2.96), being Indian (OR 3.55, 95% CI: 1.28-9.86), and Malay (OR 2.59, 95% CI: 0.99-6.77) had higher odds of pediculosis capitis infection.

Conclusions: Prevalence of pediculosis capitis among children aged 7 - 12 years in Hulu Langat District was high. There is a need for screening and treatment of pediculosis capitis in primary schools.

Keywords: Prevalence, Pediculosis, Primary School Children