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Knowledge, Attitudes, Psychosocial Perspectives and Applied Epidemiology in the Control of Head Lice (pediculosis capitis) in Croatian Preschool Children: A Qualitative Study on Childcare Professionals and Health Coordinators

1
University Centre Varaždin, University North, 42 000 Varaždin, Croatia
2
Department for Urogenital Infections, University Hospital for Infectious Diseases Dr. Fran Mihaljević, 10 000 Zagreb, Croatia
3
Clinical Microbiology and Parasitology Unit, Dr. Zora Profozić Polyclinic, 10 000 Zagreb, Croatia
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
These authors contributed equally to this work.
Academic Editor: Mingbang Wang
Children 2022, 9(1), 66; https://doi.org/10.3390/children9010066
Received: 26 November 2021 / Revised: 21 December 2021 / Accepted: 30 December 2021 / Published: 4 January 2022
(This article belongs to the Section Global and Public Health)
This study aimed to concurrently determine the perceived knowledge, attitudes and perspectives of childcare professionals working in kindergartens towards pediculosis capitis, a common ectoparasitic disease also known as head lice, as well as gain insights into procedures and control measures that are implemented in an outbreak setting. We used a qualitative approach with a problem-centered, semi-structured and three-part interview technique conducted in selected kindergartens of Varaždin and Međimurje counties of the Republic of Croatia. Based on a purposive (deliberate) sampling method, the study included both childcare professionals and on-site health coordinators aged between 21 and 56 years of age. Five main themes were put forth as a result of the conducted thematic analysis: prevention and control measures for managing head lice, information and knowledge, social issues, psychological issues and disease perception. Each of these themes also had specific emerging categories based on participants’ responses. Even though all respondents confirmed that the disease is continuously monitored only a few of them mentioned that a scalp examination was an inherent part of disease surveillance within the kindergarten community. Moreover, we found that information on pediculosis capitis is available to both parents and childcare professionals, but with a questionable uptake. Additionally, the majority of the respondents reported that parents tend to hide the infestation in their children due to shame and/or to avoid social stigma, and thus often fail to inform kindergarten teachers and health coordinators about the problem. In conclusion, our findings have implications for further practice and the introduction of tailored public health measures for the most vulnerable populations, most notably kindergarten children. View Full-Text
Keywords: parasitic disease; head lice; pediculosis capitis; Pediculus humanus var. capitis; outbreak; kindergarten; childcare professionals; health coordinators; preschool children; qualitative study parasitic disease; head lice; pediculosis capitis; Pediculus humanus var. capitis; outbreak; kindergarten; childcare professionals; health coordinators; preschool children; qualitative study
MDPI and ACS Style

Neuberg, M.; Banfić, I.; Cikač, T.; Ribić, R.; Zember, S.; Meštrović, T. Knowledge, Attitudes, Psychosocial Perspectives and Applied Epidemiology in the Control of Head Lice (pediculosis capitis) in Croatian Preschool Children: A Qualitative Study on Childcare Professionals and Health Coordinators. Children 2022, 9, 66. https://doi.org/10.3390/children9010066

AMA Style

Neuberg M, Banfić I, Cikač T, Ribić R, Zember S, Meštrović T. Knowledge, Attitudes, Psychosocial Perspectives and Applied Epidemiology in the Control of Head Lice (pediculosis capitis) in Croatian Preschool Children: A Qualitative Study on Childcare Professionals and Health Coordinators. Children. 2022; 9(1):66. https://doi.org/10.3390/children9010066

Chicago/Turabian Style

Neuberg, Marijana, Ines Banfić, Tina Cikač, Rosana Ribić, Sanja Zember, and Tomislav Meštrović. 2022. "Knowledge, Attitudes, Psychosocial Perspectives and Applied Epidemiology in the Control of Head Lice (pediculosis capitis) in Croatian Preschool Children: A Qualitative Study on Childcare Professionals and Health Coordinators" Children 9, no. 1: 66. https://doi.org/10.3390/children9010066

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