Ectoparasitic infections are the diseases that are caused by tiny parasitic bugs such as lice or scabies. They are spread through close physical contact, including sexual intercourse. These parasites infect the skin or hair and causes itching. The most common types of Ectoparasitic infections are: Pediculosis Pubis and Scabies
Pediculosis Pubis: Pediculosis Pubis is also called as Pubic lice or nits. These are minute bugs which are in fact visible to the naked eyes. Pubic lice can be seen without the help of a magnifying glass or microscope. Scientifically crab louse, the responsible parasites is known as Phthirus pubis. These parasites live within the pubes or other hair and create itching in those areas.
Patients suffering from Pediculosis pubis (i.e., pubic lice) generally seek medical attention because of pruritus or since they notice lice or nits on their pubes. Pediculosis pubis is generally spread through sexual contact.
Though it’s a very bothering disease but it can be cured. Usually Permethrin is used for the treatment of pubic lice. 1% cream rinse of permethrin is applied to the infected region and cleaned after 10 minutes. Treatments other than Permethrin include applying 1% shampoo of lindane and then washing it off after 4 minutes. Sometimes pyrethrins with piperonyl butoxide are used. They are washed off after applying for 10 minutes. These treatments should never be used near the eyes as they can be very annoying and harmful to the eyes. Beddings and clothing of the patient should be machine-washed with hot water. The sexual partner(s) of the patients also must be tested and treated for pubic lice and other STD’s.
Scabies: Scabies is an ectoparasitic infection caused by a small bug that is invisible to the naked eye. It can be seen only by a magnifying glass or a microscope. The parasite is a mite scientifically known as Sarcoptes Scabiei. The parasites live on the skin and causes itching of the hands, arms, legs, trunk, and buttocks. The itching tends to become worse at the night.
The treatment is done with the application of permethrin. 5% cream of permethrin is applied to the entire body from the neck down and then after 8 to 14 hours it is washed off. One ounce of a 1% lotion or 30 grams of cream of lindane is also used as an alternative form of treatment. It is applied from the neck down and after about 8 hours it is washed off. Lindane should never be used after a bath and the patients with extensive skin disease or rash should prohibit using it since it can cause seizures. This happens due to the fact that lindane enters into the blood stream through the wet or diseased skin. As an extra precautionary measure, pregnant or nursing women or children younger than two years old should not use lindane.
Similar to pubic lice bedding and clothing should be machine washed in hot water to kill the germs present in there. Finally, all close personal and household contacts, sexual partners within the month before the infection should be tested and treated if found infected.