Peduculosis Pubis or crabs are insect parasites seen in pubic
and other hairy parts of the body. Crab lice are small, light brown, flat insects
that can be transmitted by infected clothing, bedding, toilet seats or by sexual
contact. They feed on blood and lay numerous eggs throughout their 30 day lifespan.
The most common symptom is severe
itching in the genital region. These 'crabs'
bite their host which results in the appearance of bluish spots in the genital
The usual means of diagnosis is a report of infestation by the victim or clinical observation of the symptoms. Doctors or other healthcare practitioners may perform a microscopic examination of the lice and/or nits for diagnosis confirmation.
Clothes and bedding should be laundered thoroughly in boiling water or dry cleaned. Items that are inconvenient to clean, such as large quilts or blankets, can be stored away from other clothing and bedding for a month; without blood, the lice and any nits that hatch will die during this time.
Anyone who has had sexual contact with an infected person should be treated. Other household members may require treatment if symptoms emerge. Patients are advised to abstain from sexual contact for 48 hours after treatment. A follow-up examination is recommended after one week to determine if any live nits remain.
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