Medicine: Nitpickers of Anderson

The 19,000 schoolchildren of Anderson, Ind., have been advised by state health officials to go soak their heads —and in hot water, at that. By way of inducement, they got an extra 2½ days of Christmas holiday time. The city's entire system of 27 elementary and eight junior-high and high schools was shut down to combat a rampaging epidemic of a malady that is never fatal and seldom serious, but severely discomforting infestation with head lice.

The louse, known as Pediculus capitis, is the size of a pinhead: it lays its eggs, or nits,...

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