The selfie craze, where people cram together to fit into an arms-length photo, is the main reason for the spread of the parasites, according to the Kursk regional department of Rospotrebnadzor, a government body which advises on human well-being. Taking photos in such close quarters with another person’s head means the lice can jump from one hairy home to another, it warns, noting that doctors have banned children with head lice from going to school.
Rospotrebnadzor’s decisions have proved controversial in the past. Its former head, Gennady Onishchenko, once suggested killing crows, describing them as feathered wolves which spread bird flu. He was also associated with banning food and drink imports from countries unpopular with the Kremlin. The agency’s lice advice has been mocked by social media users in Russia. “Are they suggesting most young Russians have lice?” Georgy Klochkov asks on the Lenta news website. Another user says: “This is wonderful!! Onishchenko’s work still flourishes – the more bonkers the reason, the better.”