Parasitol Res. 2023 Oct 17. doi: 10.1007/s00436-023-07999-w. Online ahead of print.
An investigation was conducted for the first time to determine the prevalence and genetic diversity of human lice, for the first time in Nigeria, using conventional PCR and sequencing methods. Three mitochondrial genes, cytochrome oxidase subunit 1 (cox1), cytochrome b (cytb), and 12S rRNA of Nigerian human lice, were amplified, sequenced, and analyzed. Overall, high prevalence (72.5%; 103/142) of lice infestation was recorded among the examined volunteers. Head lice infestation was more common 63 (61.2%) than body lice infestation 34 (33.0%). Co-infestation with both head and body lice was recorded in six humans (5.8%). The Nigerian human lice specimens were placed mostly into clade A with few in clade E, including body lice for the first time. Six, three, and eight haplotypes of Nigerian human lice were obtained for the cytb, cox1, and 12S rRNA genes, respectively. Additionally, one (E51), three (A31, A32, and E5), and six (A20, A21, A23, A24, A30, and E1) novel haplotypes were recorded for cox1, cytb, and 12S rRNA, respectively, from the Nigerian specimens which were corroborated by the ML phylogenetic trees and MJ network analyses. Genetic diversity indices indicate minimal variation in the parameters analyzed among the clades of the three genes. However, a statistically significant Snn test, negative Tajima’s D test for clade A (cox1 and 12S rRNA genes), and negative Fu and Li’s D test in clade A for cox1 gene indicate a geographical structure and the signature of population expansion of the Nigerian human lice. The findings from this study provide additional data on the human lice structure in Africa.