Skip all navigation Skip to page navigation

DHHS Home | A-Z Site Map | Divisions | About Us | Contacts

NC Department of Health and Human Services
NC Division of Public Health
N.C. Public Health Home
 
 

Diseases & Topics

Pediculosis pubis (Crabs)

Pediculosis pubis is an infestation of the pubic area with the crab louse, a small parasitic insect that feeds on human blood. These lice are found mostly in adolescents. People usually get crab lice, or "crabs," during close person-to-person contact as in sexual activity, but they can also get them through physical contact with contaminated objects such as toilet seats, sheets and blankets.

People usually seek medical attention because of itching or because they notice lice or nits on their pubic hair. Treatment is available, and recent sexual contacts should be treated as well. Bedding and clothing should be decontaminated by dry cleaning or by machine-washing and drying using the hot cycle.

People with pediculosis pubis should also be evaluated for other sexually transmitted diseases.

For Additional Information