or Pubic Louse, and Pediculus humanus Linn., the Head and Body Lice. These are the only lice that attack man.

The Crab Louse is 1.5-2.0 mm., broadly oval, with the head much narrower than thorax, and with lateral lobes on the abdominal segments. It usually occurs in the pubic region, but in very hairy individuals may occur almost anywhere on the body. Eggs are attached to body hairs.

P. humanus is 2.5-3.5 mm., more elongate, with head only slightly narrower than thorax, and without lateral lobes on the abdominal segments. Head and Body Lice are similar in appearance but differ somewhat in habits. The Head Louse (P. h. capitis De Geer) occurs on the head, and attaches its eggs to hairs. The Body Louse (P. h. humanus Linn.) occurs on the body, and its eggs are laid on clothing.

People who bathe and change clothes frequently seldom encounter these lice; lousiness generally occurs in people who live in crowded conditions and go for long periods without bathing or changing clothes. Head lice may be transmitted from one person to another on combs, hair brushes, or hats. Body lice may be transmitted by clothing or bedding, or they may migrate at night from one batch of clothing to another.

Lice are very annoying pests, and the Body Louse acts as a disease vector. The most important disease it transmits is epidemic typhus, which often occurs in epidemic form and has a high mortality rate. A louse becomes infective after biting a typhus patient; infection of another individual results from scratching the feces of this louse, or the louse itself, into the skin. The Body Louse also transmits relapsing fever. Infection in this case results from a crushed louse being scratched into the skin.

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