Head Lice Surveillance on a Deregulated OTC-Sales Market: A Study Using Web Query DataReport as inadecuate




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The head louse, Pediculus humanus capitis, is an obligate ectoparasite that causes infestations of humans. Studies have demonstrated a correlation between sales figures for over-the-counter OTC treatment products and the number of humans with head lice. The deregulation of the Swedish pharmacy market on July 1, 2009, decreased the possibility to obtain complete sale figures and thereby the possibility to obtain yearly trends of head lice infestations. In the presented study we wanted to investigate whether web queries on head lice can be used as substitute for OTC sales figures. Via Google Insights for Search and Vårdguiden medical web site, the number of queries on -huvudlöss- head lice and -hårlöss- lice in hair were obtained. The analysis showed that both the Vårdguiden series and the Google series were statistically significant p<0.001 when added separately, but if the Google series were already included in the model, the Vårdguiden series were not statistically significant p = 0.5689. In conclusion, web queries can detect if there is an increase or decrease of head lice infested humans in Sweden over a period of years, and be as reliable a proxy as the OTC-sales figures.



Author: Johan Lindh , Måns Magnusson, Maria Grünewald, Anette Hulth

Source: http://plos.srce.hr/



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