02/16/2012 12:37 pm ET

Huntington University Lice Outbreak Spreads Through Campus

Students at Huntington University in Indiana may be scratching their heads over a recent head lice outbreak. At least four on-campus dormitories have been infected.

Vice President of Student Life Ron Coffey told Fort Wayne’s Journal Gazette that the outbreak likely originated from a group of students who returned from a mission trip to India at the end of January.

Head lice are tiny insects that can be found on the head and neck and can survive for up to 30 days. They spread easily by contact and are more common in close living conditions. Symptoms include intense itching of the scalp, red bumps on the head and neck and white specks or nits at the bottom of each hair.

University officials caught wind of the outbreak about a week ago and have begun to screen students who are at risk of infection, according to NewsChannel 15. The university did not provide specifics on the number of students infected, but said that the problem is under control.

The Huntingtonian reports that the school is providing students with lice-killing shampoo and remuneration for laundry in order to rid all clothing and bedding of infestation.

Head lice are rampant in children ages 3 to 11 with an estimated 6 to 12 million cases per year in the U.S. However, several colleges and universities have fallen victim to the tiny pests.