Pubic lice may be making a resurgence thanks to global warming, dermatologists have warned.
A relaxed attitude to shaving the body after the Brazilian bikini wax craze of the 2000s has also led the lice, also known as scratching, to make a comeback.
Experts say that, in addition to climate change and a change in social perceptions about body hair, pubic lice are also becoming more resistant to common creams and chemical removal treatments.
The 2mm long insects that thrive on coarse human body hair died out thanks to what some called the ‘Sex and the City factor’, with a lack of pubic hair making it more difficult for lice to jump from person to person.
Dermatologists have said that while climate change is heating some areas, others are cooling. Lice have been documented to increase in numbers during colder weather, where they previously did not thrive.
The researchers at Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital also say resistance among pubic lice to chemicals such as permethirine is increasing, making eradication more difficult, which has already been seen in head lice.
Dr. Priya Patel, one of the researchers at Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital, said: “There appear to have been premature reports of the death of pubic lice.
“This is by no means a disaster as pubic lice are likely to remain an uncommon problem in this country, even if they are not completely eradicated.
“It has been suggested that Carrie Bradshaw and the company were responsible for the shifting attitudes that virtually wiped out this scourge in the first decade of this century.
“The series certainly overlaps with the period that marks the low point for pubic lice.
“But after surviving that, the pubic lice seems to stay here, at least as long as people are around.”
Matthew Gass, spokesman for the British Association of Dermatologists, added: “There has been much speculation over the past two decades about pubic lice going the path of the dodo.
“To be honest, I suspect they would be missed a little less.
That said, despite all the talk of deforestation of their natural habitat, they’ve clung to it.
“While it is unlikely that we will ever truly eradicate this plague, the” cure “is likely to be worse than the disease for most people.
“Problems arising from waxing and other methods of removing widespread pubic hair, such as ingrown hairs or skin irritation, are more common than pubic lice and place a greater overall burden on the health of the average person.”
The pubic lice has been infecting humans for thousands of years, with archaeologists discovering specimens in the UK as early as the 1st century AD. The pubic lice originated about 3.3 million years ago from its ancestor, the gorilla louse.
The findings were presented at the British Association of Dermatologists’ annual virtual meeting.