head lice

Recurrent Lice Outbreaks Have ID Specialists Scratching Their Heads

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“This has to be the worst year we’ve ever seen for headlice,” Dr. Raj Sasikumar said, digging the nails of his left hand into his scalp. “It started in the elementary schools, as is often the case, and spread like wildfire after a few panicked parents dragged their kids to emerg for treatment.” He continued scraping the epithelium off his occiput as he glanced at the stack of consult sheets in his free hand. “Look at all these potential infestations! I’m tempted to buy stock in Nix.”

His colleague and the only other infectious disease specialist at J. Hoffa Memorial Hospital, Dr. Olga Smirnov, unconsciously ran her hands through her hair throughout the interview, occasionally stopping to dislodge a potential louse egg.

“I’ve already seen three lousy patients this morning,” she said. “If it wasn’t so damned hard to pull dermatologists away from their IPL lasers and Botox injections, I’d have called them all in to lighten the load. The pediatric ward is just crawling with cases.” She added that her own school-aged children, who normally responded to their mother’s hypervigilance with eye-rolling, were finally showing gratitude for her nitpicking.

On the way to his Tuesday morning Sexual Health clinic, Dr. Sasikumar praised his colleagues in the emergency department, stating that he appreciated their dedication to ridding the hospital of pestilence. “I’m going to take them all out for a drink one of these nights when I’m not on 1 in 2 call,” he said. Dr. Rich Cowan, who is the department head, echoed these sentiments.

“ID has been absolutely fantastic in handling this scourge,” he said, surreptitiously pawing at his groin. “Take that slew of sorority sisters who came in last week. I did everything I could to assuage their fears, but Raj and Olga were the true stars of the show.” He then excused himself, mumbling about being late for an important appointment downstairs.

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