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Pediculosis pubis

Other names

Crabs, pubic lice.

Cause

Insect - a parasite louse called Phthirus pubis.

Distribution

Worldwide.

Transmission

  • Sexual - Prolonged close bodily contact during sex.
  • Non-sexual - May occasionally be transmitted by sheets, towels and clothing.

Incubation

10 - 14 days.

Symptoms

  • Itching of the pubic area.
  • Observation of lice or nits (eggs attached to the pubic hair).
  • Specks of blood on the underwear.
  • Microscopic examination of nits on the hair.
  • Observing the lice.

Treatment

Anti-lice creams or lotions containing gamma benzene hexachloride (unavailable in Singapore), benzyl benzoate, malathion, perimethrin or a shampoo containing  pyrethrins and  piperonyl butoxide.

Complications

No long term effects.

Comments

  • Sexual partners need to be treated.
  • Change clothes and beddings.
  • Nits attached to the hair can be removed by using a fine toothed-comb after first soaking in vinegar (i in 3 dilution).
  • In hairy individuals, it may be necessary to apply treatment to the whole body.