What are Pubic Lice?
‘Crabs’ or ‘pubic lice’ are tiny lice (like head lice) that live in pubic hair, around the genitals. They measure in at about a millimetre tall, bury their heads into the skin, and live off human blood. They lay their egg sacks (nits) near the base of the pubic hair. A substance they secrete into the skin can cause intense itching, and the bites of adult lice turn small patches of skin to a bluish-grey colour. Fine black particles maybe spotted in the infected person’s underwear.
Unlike head lice, pubic lice have small, wide bodies and arms that resemble crabs (hence the nickname). These lice can also be found in chest, armpit and facial hair, eyebrows and eyelashes.
‘Crabs’ or ‘pubic lice’ affect 2% of the world population. Pubic lice can spread during intimate skin-to-skin contact and through sexual intercourse. They can also be transmitted by sharing bedding, towels and clothing belonging to person who has pubic lice.