The body louse also has "the smallest number of detoxification enzymes observed in any insect," the researchers wrote in a report appearing in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
The body louse is completely dependent on humans for its survival; it will die if separated from its host for very long.
So too are the genomes of the bacterial pathogens that the body louse transmits to its human hosts: Rickettsia prowazekii (which causes epidemic typhus), Borrelia recurrentis (the agent of relapsing fever) and Bartonella quintana (which causes trench fever).
This, the researchers report, will make the body louse a useful tool for understanding the co-evolution of disease-carrying parasites and their bacterial co-conspirators.
In addition, the body louse is an efficient vector for Bartonella quintana, Rickettsia prowazekii, and Borrelia recurrent& (3,5,15,32).
Controlling scabies, body louse infestation, and their effects on the homeless is a challenge.
Outbreaks of epidemic typhus occur when body louse infestations are more prevalent in the population, as observed in Burundi (31).
However, all collection strains, whatever the genotype, were resistant to ampicillin, even strains of the Unite des Rickettsies that have the same geographic origin as the body louse A.
baumannii from Marseille from the body lice of homeless persons are limited to two clones; one is exclusively associated with strains caused by body lice, and the other is associated with ampicillin susceptibility in body louse associated strains.
In recent epidemics of louse-borne infections, the prevalence of body louse
infestations in persons has reached 90% to 100% before clinical signs of louse-borne disease were noted in the population (16).