Pediculosis pubis and pediculosis ciliaris
- Adam O Goldstein, MD, MPH
Adam O Goldstein, MD, MPH
- Department of Family Medicine
- University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
- Beth G Goldstein, MD
Beth G Goldstein, MD
- Adjunct Clinical Assistant Professor
- Department of Dermatology
- University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
- Section Editors
- Robert P Dellavalle, MD, PhD, MSPH
Robert P Dellavalle, MD, PhD, MSPH
- Section Editor — General Dermatology
- Professor of Dermatology and Public Health
- University of Colorado School of Medicine
- Colorado School of Public Health
- Chief, Dermatology Service
- US Department of Veterans Affairs
- Eastern Colorado Health Care System
- Moise L Levy, MD
Moise L Levy, MD
- Section Editor — Pediatric Dermatology
- Professor of Pediatrics and Medicine (Dermatology)
- Dell Medical School, University of Texas, Austin
- Clinical Professor of Dermatology and Pediatrics
- Baylor College of Medicine
Pediculosis pubis, pediculosis corporis, and pediculosis capitis are disorders caused by infestation by one of three varieties of lice that specifically infest humans (figure 1). Pediculosis pubis is usually sexually transmitted, and can extend beyond the pubic area to involve other areas of the body, including the eyelashes (pediculosis ciliaris). Phthirus pubis, also known as the crab louse, is the responsible organism.
The clinical findings, diagnosis, and treatment of pediculosis pubis and pediculosis ciliaris will be reviewed here. Pediculosis capitis and pediculosis corporis are discussed separately. (See "Pediculosis capitis" and "Pediculosis corporis".)
Epidemiology — Phthirus pubis, the crab louse, is usually transmitted during sexual contact, and increasing sexual freedom in many societies has contributed to its spread. Teenagers and young adults are most commonly affected.
Transmission via contact with fomites such as clothing, towels, or linen may also occur, but is thought to be less common [1,2]. Phthirus pubis gravitates toward warm environments and is not adapted to crawling on smooth surfaces, making infestation from a toilet seat unlikely .
A thorough sexual history and screening for other sexually transmitted diseases is warranted in patients with pediculosis pubis [3,4]. In a series of 121 individuals with pediculosis pubis, for example, 31 percent had another sexually transmitted disease . (See "Screening for sexually transmitted infections".)To continue reading this article, you must log in with your personal, hospital, or group practice subscription. For more information on subscription options, click below on the option that best describes you:
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- PEDICULOSIS PUBIS
- Phthirus pubis
- Clinical manifestations
- Diagnosis and differential diagnosis
- - Treatment options
- - Resistance
- - Household members and fabrics
- PEDICULOSIS CILIARIS
- Clinical manifestations and diagnosis
- INFORMATION FOR PATIENTS
- SUMMARY AND RECOMMENDATIONS