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A Lousy, Nit-Picking Epidemic

A hair-raising plague of head lice has descended on America's schoolkids. What can stop it?

The school had been invaded, and officials were banning brushes and putting coats in plastic bags to seal off the points of attack. Five nurses worked all morning on the heads of 600 children at the Rachel Carson Elementary School in Gaithersburg, Md., spending five to seven minutes per scalp, looking for signs of infestation. In the end, 12% of the students and 10% of the staff were sent home. It was the worst invasion of head lice in a long time. "In other years we have two, sometimes four cases of lice," says Laura Hart Silkwood, the principal. "This is...

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