• Ave Kutman Tartu Health Care College, Estonia
  • Birgit Hüneva Tartu Health Care College, Estonia


Head lice, head lice disease, pediculosis, kindergarten, spread of head lice, preschool children, head lice occurrence, head lice treatment, parental awareness, head lice awareness, Pediculus humanus capitis


Background: Pediculosis is a health concern in Estonia and among other countries around the world. The prevalence of the disease varies by country, but most of them acknowledge that the problem is actual and getting rid of the parasite is more difficult as it seems firstly. Estonian Health Board refers to the annual growing prevalence of lice in Estonian kindergartens. Therefore parents’ knowledge about head lice is not known and this could be the key to fight the disease.

Aim: The aim of the research was to find out the occurrence of head lice infestation in pre-school children and their parents awareness about the disease.

Methods: To find out the prevalence of head lice, web-based questionnaire was carried out in various Internet environments to reach parents. Parents' awareness was explained by 20 statements. It was carried out in the beginning of 2020. The most important groupings were made between those whose children had pediculosis and those who did not, as well as whether those children who had pediculosis went a childcare institution regularly.

Results: There was 1141 respondent, median age was 32.7 years. The survey included participants from all Estonian counties, most respondents were from Tartu and Tartu county. Pediculosis occurred in 30.9% of children studied. Parents whose children had had pediculosis, used different medications, 98.6% of cases parents rated the chosen treatment to be effective. Head lice were most common in children aged 4–6 years and the study also found that most children with pediculosis went regularly to kindergarten or daycare. The incidence of pediculosis was higher among older parents' children, knowledge was also better in older respondents, which may be due to the fact that their. Parents' awareness was explained by 20 statements with an average score of 13.2 per respondent.

Conclusion(s): The occurrence of pediculosis in pre-school children is about 30% of the children. The parents’ awareness of pediculosis is good. most of the parents had correct answers to at least half of the statements. The knowledge was better among parents who had had experience with pediculosis. People with medical education (n=130) had the highest awareness of head lice and pediculosis.


Presenter e-mail: avekutman@nooruse.ee