Indian Journal of Medical Microbiology IAMM  | About us |  Subscription |  e-Alerts  | Feedback |  Login   
  Print this page Email this page   Small font sizeDefault font sizeIncrease font size
 Home | Ahead of Print | Current Issue | Archives | Search | Instructions  
Users Online: 478 Official Publication of Indian Association of Medical Microbiologists 
 ~  Similar in PUBMED
 ~  Search Pubmed for
 ~  Search in Google Scholar for
 ~  Article in PDF (561 KB)
 ~  Citation Manager
 ~  Access Statistics
 ~  Reader Comments
 ~  Email Alert *
 ~  Add to My List *
* Registration required (free)  

 ~  References
 ~  Article Figures

 Article Access Statistics
    PDF Downloaded95    
    Comments [Add]    

Recommend this journal


  Table of Contents  
Year : 2016  |  Volume : 34  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 405-406

Phthirus pubis in the eye

1 Dr. Rajendra Prasad Centre for Ophthalmic Sciences, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, India
2 Department of Microbiology, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, India

Date of Submission27-Sep-2015
Date of Acceptance14-Dec-2015
Date of Web Publication12-Aug-2016

Correspondence Address:
B R Mirdha
Department of Microbiology, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi
Login to access the Email id

Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0255-0857.188384

Rights and Permissions

How to cite this article:
Singh A, Tripathy K, Gupta N, Kale P, Verma N, Mirdha B R. Phthirus pubis in the eye. Indian J Med Microbiol 2016;34:405-6

How to cite this URL:
Singh A, Tripathy K, Gupta N, Kale P, Verma N, Mirdha B R. Phthirus pubis in the eye. Indian J Med Microbiol [serial online] 2016 [cited 2021 Jan 27];34:405-6. Available from:

Dear Editor,

Phthirus pubis infestation is a clear indicator of poor hygiene and overcrowding with a worldwide prevalence of 1-2%. [1] The adult louse is semitransparent and has a distinctive crab-like body. The dark coloured nits laid by the female lice usually adhere to the hairs. [2] The infestation is common in sexually active age group and may be associated with other sexually transmitted infections (STIs) in over 30% of the cases. [3]

A 41-year-old female presented with pain and irritation in both eyes for last three months. Detailing of physical examination and clinical history was not remarkable. She had no history of any other STI and no known infestation elsewhere in her body. Slit lamp biomicroscopy revealed multiple eggs adhered to eye lashes along with three moving insects at the lid margin. The examination of insects under light microscopy revealed wingless, translucent crab-like lice with three pairs of legs along with claws. The size was 1.6 mm, and the insect was confirmed as P. pubis [Figure 1]. The patient was successfully treated with mechanical removal of insects and nits along with instillation of 1% permethrin topically. Close contacts were also advised treatment. Her husband was also advised for thorough check up for pubic louse infestation.
Figure 1: Light microscope, ×100 magnification, shows adult Phthirus pubis adhered to an eye lash removed from the patient

Click here to view

Phthiriasis palpebrarum (infestation of eye) is uncommonly reported from India. [4] They are commonly misdiagnosed as blepharoconjunctivitis of bacterial or viral aetiology. The possibility of pubic infestation in cases not responding to antimicrobials should be kept in mind. It is also important to trace the contacts and treat them adequately. Treatment options include mechanical removal, 1% permethrin lotion, lindane lotion and oral therapy with ivermectin. [5]

Financial support and sponsorship


Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

 ~ References Top

Anderson AL, Chaney E. Pubic lice (Pthirus pubis): History, biology and treatment vs. knowledge and beliefs of US college students. Int J Environ Res Public Health 2009;6:592-600.  Back to cited text no. 1
Nuttall GH. The biology of Phthirus pubis. Parasitology 1918;10:383-405.  Back to cited text no. 2
Varela JA, Otero L, Espinosa E, Sánchez C, Junquera ML, Vázquez F. Phthirus pubis in a sexually transmitted diseases unit: A study of 14 years. Sex Transm Dis 2003;30:292-6.  Back to cited text no. 3
Ashraf M, Waris A, Kumar A, Akhtar N. A case of unilateral phthiriasis palpebrarum infestation involving the left eye. BMJ Case Rep 2014;2014. pii: Bcr2013203307.  Back to cited text no. 4
Clinical Effectiveness Group. United Kingdom national guideline on the management of Phthirus pubis infestation. London (UK): British Association of Sexual Health and HIV; 2008. Available from: [last accessed on 2015 Apr 12].  Back to cited text no. 5


  [Figure 1]


Print this article  Email this article


2004 - Indian Journal of Medical Microbiology
Published by Wolters Kluwer - Medknow

Online since April 2001, new site since 1st August '04