Shampoo helps root out lice
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Shampoo helps root out lice

A shampoo that makes headlice eggs glow under ultraviolet light has been devised to help parents combat nits.

The lotion has an organic dye which sticks to eggs, making them easier to spot and remove with a comb. The shampoo was developed by Sydney Spiesel, of Yale University school of medicine, in America, after he had to remove lice eggs from a child's head manually.

Many scientists suspect that modern chemical treatments are weaker, helping the insects to become immune. If chemical shampoos fail, parents have to wet comb their children's hair, picking out eggs by hand, or use a fine comb.

Eggs are less than one millimetre across, making them hard to spot. They cling to hair and can be hard to dislodge. In tests, Dr Spiesel's shampoo bound to the eggs, but not to the children's hair, New Scientist magazine reports today.

When an ultraviolet light was shone on the hair, the eggs glowed brightly, making them easier to remove. Dr Spiesel said the dye was cheap and non-toxic. He is patenting the shampoo and is seeking investors to develop it commercially.

In Britain, a country with a population of 60 million people, the National Health Service and parents spend about £30 million (US $45 million) a year on treating lice infestation in children.

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