An unusual autopsy case of lethal hypothermia exacerbated by body lice-induced severe anemia

Akina Nara, Hisashi Nagai, Rutsuko Yamaguchi, Yohsuke Makino, Fumiko Chiba, Ken ichi Yoshida, Daisuke Yajima, Hirotaro Iwase

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


Pediculus humanus humanus (known as body lice) are commonly found in the folds of clothes, and can cause skin disorders when they feed on human blood, resulting in an itching sensation. Body lice are known as vectors of infectious diseases, including typhus, recurrent fever, and trench fever. An infestation with blood-sucking body lice induces severe cutaneous pruritus, and this skin disorder is known as “vagabond’s disease.” A body lice infestation is sometimes complicated with iron deficiency anemia. In the present case, a man in his late 70s died of lethal hypothermia in the outdoors during the winter season. The case history and autopsy findings revealed that the cause of the lethal hypothermia was iron deficiency anemia, which was associated with a prolonged infestation of blood-sucking body lice. Also, he had vagabond’s disease because the skin on his body was abnormal and highly pigmented. This is an unusual autopsy case since the body lice contributed to the cause of the death.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)765-769
Number of pages5
JournalInternational Journal of Legal Medicine
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2016 May 1


  • Anemia
  • Body louse
  • Hypothermia
  • Iron deficiency

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine


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