2nd May 2008 at 01:00
Medical staff wielding fine-tooth combs are needed to get to the root of a growing - and wriggling - problem in schools
Medical staff wielding fine-tooth combs are needed to get to the root of a growing - and wriggling - problem in schools.

Try to continue reading without scratching: a campaign is under way to bring back the school nit nurse: our archive picture (below) shows one at work.

Head lice up to 6mm long are finding comfortable homes in the hair of primary pupils.

Now a petition has been launched on the Prime Minister's website, calling for the swift return of the traditional nit nurse. It says infected children should be excluded from school until any unwanted residents in their hair are eradicated. So far, 145 people are supporting it.

Mother-of-four Lucy Kirkham wants more parents to sign up. She says two of her children were infected at Crackley Bank Primary in Chesterton, Staffordshire. "They can be free for a weekend. Then, as soon as they go back to school, they are riddled again," she told her local paper.

"The issue has not been addressed in schools since the nit nurse stopped coming, and staff can't do anything to help."

The school denies it has more of a problem than any other, and says any incidents are quickly dealt with. But Ms Kirkham's call has caught the ear of local MP Joan Walley. She wants a review carried out to stop any wider outbreaks. Scratching yet? We thought so.

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