Parasites - Lice - Body Lice

two adult body lice

Adult body lice are 2.3–3.6 mm in length. Body lice live and lay eggs on clothing and only move to the skin to feed.

Body lice are known to spread disease.

Body lice infestations (pediculosis) are spread most commonly by close person-to-person contact but are generally limited to persons who live under conditions of crowding and poor hygiene (for example, the homeless, refugees, etc.). Dogs, cats, and other pets do not play a role in the transmission of human lice.

Improved hygiene and access to regular changes of clean clothes is the only treatment needed for body lice infestations.

Images: Pictures of two adult body lice. (Credit: PHIL, CDC)

Page last reviewed: September 12, 2019