02/14/2013 08:44 EST | Updated 04/16/2013 05:12 EDT

Edmonton Body Lice Indicates People Living In Squalor


EDMONTON - An infectious disease expert is speaking out about a rare outbreak of body lice in Edmonton.

Dr. Stan Houston says the lice found on a patient should raise alarm bells because it is an indication that some people are living in really awful conditions.

Houston, a University of Alberta professor, says body lice are usually seen in only the most severe situations, such as refugee camps or among street children in Africa.

He has asked Alberta's Medical Officer of Health to take measures to prevent the lice from spreading.

Houston says some lice can transmit several life-threatening bacterial infectious diseases.

The group Public Interest Alberta says body lice are an indication that some people aren't getting the help they need from social service programs.

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