IUBio Biosequences .. Software .. Molbio soft .. Network News .. FTP


William Reeder "wmr-60 at xi.netcom.com" at ix.netcom.com
Wed Jan 1 05:45:21 EST 1997

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 

More information about the Parasite mailing list

Send comments to us at biosci-help [At] net.bio.net