Pyrethroid insecticides play very important roles in the control of pediculosis, which is caused by human head louse (Pediculus humanus capitis De Geer) worldwide. The development of head louse resistance to pyrethroid pediculicides has become a global issue during the last two decades. Pyrethroid resistance is associated with amino acid substitutions in the α-subunit of the para-sodium channel gene; these substitutions are termed kdr-like mutations. The frequencies of four mutations (D11E, M815I, T929I, and L932F) in the sodium channel gene were studied in human head louse colonies collected from Japan by using SNaPshot method. A total of 630 head lice collected from 282 infested people were analyzed, and it was found that 55 lice of 19 colonies homozygously or heterozygously possessed kdr-like genes, in which the four mutations existed concomitantly. This suggested that the quadruple mutant haplotype is a common feature of the kdr genes of pandemic head lice. The frequencies of the occurrence of resistant genes in the total individuals tested and resistant gene-carrying colonies were 8.7 (55/630) and 6.7% (19/263), respectively. Because the resistant gene was detected in the colonies collected from 11 of the 22 prefectures surveyed, it is speculated that resistant head lice are already spread extensively in Japan. This was the first large-scale survey of pyrethroid resistant head lice in Japan.
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Vol. 46 • No. 1