Parasitology Research

, Volume 116, Issue 10, pp 2637–2643 | Cite as

Genetic diversity of the human head lice, Pediculus humanus capitis, among primary school girls in Saudi Arabia, with reference to their prevalence

  • Sarah A. Al-Shahrani
  • Reem A. Alajmi
  • Tahany H. Ayaad
  • Mohammed A. Al-Shahrani
  • El-Sayed H. Shaurub
Original Paper


The present work aimed at investigating the genetic diversity of the head louse Pediculus humanus capitis (P. humanus capitis) among infested primary school girls at Bisha governorate, Saudi Arabia, based on the sequence of mitochondrial cytochrome b (mt cyt b) gene of 121 P. humanus capitis adults. Additionally, the prevalence of pediculosis capitis was surveyed. The results of sequencing were compared with the sequence of human head lice that are genotyped previously. Phylogenetic tree analysis showed the presence of 100% identity (n = 26) of louse specimens with clade A (prevalent worldwide) of the GenBank data base. Louse individuals (n = 50) showed 99.8% similarity with the same clade A reference having a single base pair difference. Also, a number of 22 louse individuals revealed 99.8% identity with clade B reference (prevalent in North and Central Americas, Europe, and Australia) with individual diversity in two base pairs. Moreover, 14 louse individual sequences revealed 99.4% identity with three base pair differences. It was concluded that moderate pediculosis (~13%) prevailed among the female students of the primary schools. It was age-and hair texture (straight or curly)-dependent. P. humanus capitis prevalence diversity is of clades A and B genotyping.


Pediculus humanus capitis Prevalence Mitochondrial cytochrome b gene Genetic diversity 



This research project was supported by a grant from the “Research Center of the Female Scientific and Medical colleges,” Deanship of Scientific Research, King Saud University for the financial support. The authors are grateful to the all administrators, Ministry of Education, Bisha governorate, Saudi Arabia. Sincere thanks are also due to Professor Ahmed Ali Al-Qahtani, King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Center for cooperation and guidance in DNA sequencing as well as providing all his laboratory facilities.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sarah A. Al-Shahrani
    • 1
  • Reem A. Alajmi
    • 2
  • Tahany H. Ayaad
    • 3
  • Mohammed A. Al-Shahrani
    • 4
  • El-Sayed H. Shaurub
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Biology, Faculty of ScienceBisha UniversityBishaSaudi Arabia
  2. 2.Department of Zoology, Faculty of ScienceKing Saud UniversityRiyadhSaudi Arabia
  3. 3.Department of Entomology, Faculty of ScienceCairo UniversityGizaEgypt
  4. 4.Department of Medical Laboratory, College of Applied Medical SciencesUniversity Hospital at King Khalid UniversityAbhaSaudi Arabia

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