Parasites: Maddening Itch

Once the bane of streetwalkers and their patrons, Phthirus pubis, or the crab louse, is exhibiting upward mobility. As sexual barriers tumble, the tenacious parasites are infesting more and more middle-class youngsters. One reason, says Boston Dermatologist A. Bernard Ackerman in the New England Journal of Medicine, is that the bugs are making the scene at hippie love-ins. And it is only a short hop from the crash pad to the college crowd.

Implacably tough and hard to pick off, the lice resemble real crabs. There the similarity ends. No longer or wider...

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