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    DSHS HIV/STD Program

    Post Office Box 149347, MC 1873
    Austin, Texas 78714

    Phone: (512) 533-3000

    E-mail the HIV/STD Program

    E-mail data requests to HIV/STD Program

    DSHS strives to respond to all email requests in a timely manner. It is important to note, however, that messages that you send to us by email may not be secure and may be intercepted by a third party. Therefore, we recommend that you do not send any confidential health information to us by email.

Pubic Lice Fact Sheet

OTHER NAMES Crabs, Pediculosis pubis, cooties
ORGANISM Louse: Phthirus pubis
TRANSMISSION Passed by skin to skin contact with infected person or by infested sheets, towels, and clothing.
INCUBATION Eggs hatch after 3 to 14 days.
TYPICAL SYMPTOMS Some people may not have any symptoms. Others have intense itching, blue or gray spots, and insects or nits (eggs) in the pubic area. Some people may also have pinhead-size blood spots on underwear.
DIAGNOSIS Microscopic examination of nits on hair and locating adult lice adhering to hair.
TREATMENT Cured with special creams, lotions, or shampoos that can be bought at drugstores. Some products require a prescription while others do not. Bedding, clothing, towels must be laundered in hot water. Combs and brushes should be soaked in hot water.
PREVENTION Avoid physical/skin to skin contact with infested individuals and their belongings, especially clothing and bedding.
COMMENTS To prevent getting lice again, sex partners and household contacts should be treated at the same time.

DSHS Electronic Publication Number E13-11905

Last updated March 17, 2015