Crab lice

In a nutshell

  • These are parasites.
  • They cling to the hair on the pubis.
  • They are transmitted:
    • during skin-to-skin contact with an infested person;
    • during contact with a contaminated object such as clothes, bedding etc.;
    • more rarely, during sexual intercourse.

Symptoms and complications

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Having crab lice does not lead to serious consequences for health, but the itching is nonetheless very unpleasant.

If symptoms show up, they are as follows:

  • intense itching in the pubic region;
  • the presence of pale brown insects the size of a pinhead as well as whitish eggs attached to body hair;
  • the appearance of small blue spots, which are in fact traces of bites.

Screening and treatment

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  • A diagnosis can be made only when lice or eggs are present.


  • To get rid of crab lice, you have to apply a cream to the affected region.
  • You then have to wash the bedding, towels and your clothes in hot water, or dry clean them, to avoid being reinfected or infecting others.


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There is no method that ensures protection against crab lice because they are transmitted by contact alone with an infected person or a contaminated object.

If you have crab lice, it is important to notify the people living with you and your sexual partners over the past month so that they can be treated.

In terms of figures :

1994 the beginning of vaccination against hepatitis B in Quebec

Getting help

To get a screening test

  • Call Info-Santé 8-1-1
  • Talk it over with the nurse in your school or CLSC
  • Talk it over with your doctor


For any
other question

Consult Tel-jeunes

Tel-Jeunes Ministère de la Santé et des Services sociaux