Click on the logo to go to the Gazette home page

Head lice affected 7 at telemarketer
September 19, 1997

By Lynn Feuerbach
Gazette associate financial editor

An outbreak of head lice at the North Liberty office of Access Direct affected seven of the 120 employees, Thomas Cardella, president of the Cedar Rapids-based telemarketing company, said Thursday.

Three of the seven are roommates and two others have young children in school, Cardella said.

Head lice are typically spread through close contact. For that reason, children in day-care centers and elementary schools are most often affected.

Although there is no clear indication that headsets shared by employees may have contributed to the spread of the parasites, Cardella said the company issued new headsets to all employees as a precaution. The company also voluntarily shut down the office Wednesday for cleaning. Carpets were vacuumed and steamed, and work surfaces were washed with disinfectant.

Russell Currier, environmental epidemiologist for the State Department of Public Health, said the living circumstances associated with five of the seven employees indicate most of the transmissions probably occurred outside the work setting.

But, he said, it would be hard to prove that transmission didn't come from the headsets.

Currier said this is the first outbreak of head lice among adults that he has heard of in his 22 years in public health service. He recommended that those affected apply two treatments of chemical shampoos one week apart to eliminate the parasites.

All local content copyright © 1997 by The Gazette Company, Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

C.A.T.S. Comment: Just another reason to keep 'em out of our hair.

to the articles page.