Have we entered a new age of hard-to-eradicate super-lice? Some nit-picking pros think so. Adie Horowitz, president of Licenders, a local purveyor of treatment kits and services, says she’s seen a 20 percent bump in patients this school year.
Others in the same line of work also report an uptick in business. Abigail Rosenfeld, a Brooklyn delouser with eighteen years’ experience, says she’s never been so busy—not only with more clients than usual, but more crawlies per kid. Though the New York City Office of School Health offers no hard numbers, one Brooklyn private school’s nurse, who asked to remain unidentified, said, “I’ve already gone 40 percent over my [lice-treatment] budget this year.” She adds that she’s heard similar stories from colleagues all over town. But what’s causing this traumatic infestation among the city’s well-scrubbed youth? “The bugs have become resistant,” says Horowitz, ominously. “Those over-the-counter treatments people still use really only work about 30 percent of the time.”