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"Super Lice" Reported In Maryland

BALTIMORE (WJZ) -- As schools start to open in Maryland, there's growing concern among parents as "super lice" have been reported. Regular, over-the-counter rinses won't get rid of these drug-resistant pests, leaving some looking for alternative treatments.

Meghan McCorkell has more on the super bugs.

Scientists say those lice have mutated so, instead of getting killed by lice shampoos, they keep coming back again and again.

As you send your kids back to school, they could be bringing a very unwelcome guest back home. A new study reports super lice have been found in Maryland and 24 other states. The pesky critters are resistant to the normal over-the-counter lice treatments.

"The lice are coming back. The children are missing school. They've thrown out mattresses, carpeting," said Dawn Boyce, Lice Clinics of America.

Boyce was a school nurse for 26 years and says this is the first year she's seen super lice.

"Some of the kids are telling us they don't sleep, that their head itches so badly that they can't sleep," she said.

Between six and 12 million US children become infected with head lice every year, according to the National Institutes of Health.

"You've got more exposure, you're going to have more lice---super or not," said Dr. Michael Zollicoffer.

Zollicoffer, a pediatrician with Sinai Hospital, says while more cases are imminent, parents shouldn't panic.

"You go buy the same stuff. If you see it not working, then call you doc. Get in and we can either do a prescription medicine or we can see [if] you are doing this stuff correctly," he said.

The Lice Clinics of America in Bel Air also offers a new FDA-cleared treatment that uses heated air to kill super lice. Boyce says people from all over the East Coast have come to try it.

"We had a family come from as far as West Virginia," she said.

All to get rid of the nasty pests.

Doctors say if you do suspect your child has super lice, you should still try over-the-counter products first and read the instructions carefully.

The CDC says while they are irritating, head lice do not spread diseases.

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