Gary Moffatt wrote:
>> In the first part of '96 my dad was confined to a nursing home and
> immediately on release started having horrid skin problems. His Dr.
> after a few weeks sent him to a dermatologist who took two days to
> diagnose him with scabies. He may have had scabies but he made some
> comment about the great big bugs and I happened to see one in the house.
> I found pictures of all kinds of mites and scabies on the internet but
> no cooties.
> As a history major I know about cooties association with WW I. I also
> know they are commonly hosted by cows and have encountered a few little
> ones (under 2 inches) from time to time. The dictionary says they are a
> mite but the bugs I have seen have tiny bodies and very long legs, not
> like any mite. The cootie also has a damned anomolous articulation that
> makes it look more like a crawling swastica than a mite.
> What is the life cycle of this bug? What is the treatment and
> prognosis? My dad was treated with Elemite, which seems to be
> pyretherides in a cream base. The scabies were knocked out immediately
> and his symptoms reduced dramaticly but I saw a live cootie weeks after
> the scabies were gone.
The term "cootie" is slang for the human body louse, Pediculus humanus.
It is the vector of typhus, a rickettsial disease which killed millions
during the first world war. It is also the vector of trench typhus a
less serious disease which also caused millions of non-fatal casulties
during the first world war. Hans Zinsser's book Rats, Lice and History is
the classic study on the subject and should be available at most