Body lice infestations usually cause minimal problems. However, a body lice infestation sometimes leads to complications such as:

  • Secondary infections. When body lice scratch and dig to feed on your blood, they may irritate your skin. If you scratch to alleviate itching, this also can irritate your skin. If your skin becomes raw from these irritations, other infections may develop.
  • Skin changes. If you're infested with body lice for a long time, you may experience skin changes such as thickening and discoloration — particularly around your waist, groin or upper thighs.
  • Spread of disease. Although this rarely occurs, body lice can carry and spread some bacterial diseases, such typhus, relapsing fever or trench fever.
Dec. 15, 2012

You Are ... The Campaign for Mayo Clinic

Mayo Clinic is a not-for-profit organization. Make a difference today.