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Pediculosis pubis, pubis lice, crabs

What is it?

Parasitosis known for centuries, pediculosis pubis is caused by Phthirus pubis, a pubic louse. Very contagious disease, is transmitted through sexual contact, but may also be transmitted through contaminated clothes, bed linen and towels.

Characteristics and symptoms

Symptoms appear one to two weeks after infestation or less time, if the patient already had previous infestation by lice. Intense itching in affected areas is the main symptom.

The adult lice and nits are found attached to the pubic hair and also in the hairy regions of the lower abdomen, thighs and buttocks. The pubic louse is very small and may be noticed as small black dots attached to the base of the hair shaft, close to the skin.

Occasionally, the adult louse can be found in the armpits, eyelids and eyebrows. Lesions of hives, blisters and bluish spots may occur after lice's bites.


Treatment of pediculosis pubis consists of using specific drugs for the extermination of parasites in affected areas, which is done with two applications with an interval of seven days between each other. The application must include, in addition to the pubic area, nearby hairy areas (thighs, abdomen, buttocks).

There is also a treatment with oral medication (ivermectin), which should also be repeated after one week. In some cases, oral and local treatments may be associated. The most appropriate treatment for each case should be decided by the dermatologist.

Related articles

- Pediculosis, head lice
- Scabies

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