Share this article on:

Pubic Lice: An Endangered Species?

Dholakia, Shamik; Buckler, Jonathan; Jeans, John Paul; Pillai, Andrew; Eagles, Natasha; Dholakia, Shruti

Sexually Transmitted Diseases: June 2014 - Volume 41 - Issue 6 - p 388–391
doi: 10.1097/OLQ.0000000000000142
Original Study

The incidence of pubic lice infestations is estimated to be between 1.3% and 4.6%, with an average incidence of 2% worldwide. It is also estimated that 70% to 80% of adults now remove pubic hair in part or entirety, using a variety of methods.

It is hypothesized that the destruction of this pubic hair habitat may account for the falling incidence of pubic lice and may possibly lead to its eradication or atypical presentation.

Aim To report the changing incidence of pubic lice infestation from our unit over the last 10 years and assess its association, if any, with pubic hair removal of any kind.

Methods Assessment of medical records and questionnaires were used to identify the incidence of hair removal and pubic lice infestation over a 10-year period. Data were anonymized and analyzed to identify any correlation.

Results A significant and strong correlation between the falling incidence of pubic lice infections and increase in pubic hair removal was observed, with a Pearson correlation r value of 0.9686 (95% confidence intervals, 0.88–0.992). The P value is less than 0.0001.

Conclusions The increased incidence of hair removal may lead to atypical patterns of pubic lice infestations or its complete eradication as the natural habitat of this parasite is destroyed.

A significant correlation between the falling incidence of pubic lice infections and increased incidence in pubic hair removal was observed. Shaving remained the most popular method of hair removal

From the Milton Keynes General Hospital, Standing Way, Eaglestone, Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire, UK.

All authors collected data. S.D. wrote the first draft of the manuscript. All authors contributed to the manuscript.

Local ethics approval was given; patients gave written consent to data being used, which was all anonymized.

No funding was necessary, and we declare no competing interests.

Correspondence: Shamik Dholakia, MRCS, MBBS, BSc, Milton Keynes General Hospital, Standing, Way Eaglestone, Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire, UK. E-mail:

Received for publication February 1, 2014, and accepted April 9, 2014.

© Copyright 2014 American Sexually Transmitted Diseases Association