What are pubic lice?

Pubic lice (Pthirus pubis) have a short crab-like body easily distinguished from that of head and body lice. Pubic lice are most frequently found on hair around the pubic region of the infested person, but may also be found elsewhere on the body (including facial hair and eyelashes). The infestation by pubic lice is termed pthiriasis. Mechanical removal of these lice and their eggs is the preferred method of treatment. Because pubic lice are acquired mainly through sexual contact, other sexually transmitted diseases should be considered (though such other infections would not be caused or transmitted by pubic lice). Pubic lice on a child may cause the physician to consider the possibility that the child may have had inappropriate contact. Pubic lice may also be acquired through more innocent means, such as by sharing a bed with an infested person.

If you suspect a case of pubic lice and want to confirm the identity of the creatures in question, samples can be submitted to IdentifyUS via our Specimen Evaluation Form.

Pthius pubis - crab louse

Pthius_pubis_or_crab_louse

This image comes from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Public Health Image Library (PHIL) and is in the public domain.

Go To This Page

© 2010-2017, IdentifyUS, LLC  •  320 Needham St, STE 200  •  Newton, MA  02464-1593