Pubic louse falls victim to eager Brazilian strippers
Waxes wax, crabs wane
A dramatic decline in cases of pubic lice has been linked to growing enthusiasm for the Brazilian bikini wax, and trimmed shrubbery in general.
Phthirus pubis is estimated to infest between 2 and 10 per cent of people worldwide, according to this report, but the species could be heading for "disaster" if humans persist in mowing their nether regions.
A 2011 study by Kenyon College in Ohio revealed that "more than 80 per cent of college students in the US remove all or some of their pubic hair, as well as a majority of university-aged men and women in Australia".*
Indeed, the Down Under trend for keeping curlies short down under means docs at the Sydney Sexual Health Centre haven't seen a woman with crabs since 2008, while the number of blokes scratching their way to the clinic is down 80 per cent from around 100 cases 10 years ago.
The Centre's Basil Donovan, who's also sexual health head honcho at the University of New South Wales’s Kirby Institute, explained: "It used to be extremely common; it’s now rarely seen. Without doubt, it’s better grooming."
Brit medical entomologist Ian Burgess agreed. He said: "Pubic grooming has led to a severe depletion of crab louse populations. Add to that other aspects of body hair depilation, and you can see an environmental disaster in the making for this species."
If Phthirus pubis is headed for extinction, the blame will partially lie with J Sisters salon in Manhattan, run by seven smooth Brazilian sisters** who brought the technique to NYC back in 1994. Customer Sarah Jessica Parker will also have to take some of the rap, since she apparently regularly stumps 75 bucks for a intimate depilation, and helped spread the word on TV show Sex and the City. ®
*Bloomberg adds: "In the UK, 99 per cent of women older than 16 years remove some hair, most commonly from the underarms, legs and pubic area, a 2005 study found."
**The tremendously named Jonice, Jocely, Janea, Joyce, Juracy, Jussara and Judeseia Padilha.