Pubic Lice (“Crabs”)
(Pubic lice caused by Phthirus pubis, the crab louse, and Scabies caused
by Sarcoptes scabiei, a mite): Sexually Transmitted Disease Facts
Download PDF versions of this fact sheet, formatted for print:
- STD Facts: Pubic Lice and Scabies (English) (PDF)
- Severe itching
- Sometimes lice can be seen in hairy parts of body
- Sexual contact
- Close physical contact
- Infested towels, bedding and clothing
Transmission from toilet seats is unlikely.
If left untreated:
- Can spread to sex partners
- Pubic lice can spread from pubic hair to other hairy areas
- Scabies can spread through a family
- Avoiding vaginal, oral or anal sex is the best way to prevent STDs.
- Limit the number of sex partners.
- Notify sex partners immediately if infested.
- Infested sex partners should be treated.
- Avoid sleeping in the same bed or sharing towels or clothes with someone who is infested.
Treatment of Pubic Lice and Scabies:
- Get a test from a medical provider if infection is suspected.
- Can be killed using medication prescribed by a medical provider or, in the case of pubic lice, over-the-counter products.
- Partners should be treated at same time.
- Wash all clothes and bedding in hot water.
- Vacuum furniture.
NOTE: A person can be reinfected after treatment.
STD, HIV and TB Section
Minnesota Department of Health
Minnesota Family Planning
and STD Hotline
1-800-783-2287 Voice/TTY; 651-645-9360 (Metro)
CDC National STD and AIDS Hotlines
1-800-CDC-INFO; 1-888-232-6348 TTY
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