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November 1984

Picture of the Month

Author Affiliations

Contributed from the Department of Ophthalmology, University of Kentucky Medical Center, Lexington.

Am J Dis Child. 1984;138(11):1079-1080. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1984.02140490079020

Denouement and Discussion 

Phthirus pubis (Pubic Louse) Blepharitis 

Manifestations  Because of increased sexual activity in the adolescent population, chronic conjunctivitis due to Phthirus pubis is occurring more frequently. The translucent, white nits coating the eyelashes are characteristic and represent eggs, firmly adherent to the hair shafts. The nits can be seen with a handheld magnifier and should not be confused with the crusty flakes of seborrheic blepharitis. Adult lice and their excreta can be detected on the skin of the eyelids.

Epidemiology  The pubic louse dies quickly away from its host, and transmission is usually sexual. The pubic area is the most frequently affected, but an infected person may carry the organism from one hairy area to another with infestation of axillary hair, beard, eyebrows, and eyelashes. The pubic louse can be identified on the basis of its size (smaller than a body louse) and its distinctively crablike appearance. The

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