We hate to ruin Bloomberg News' squirm-inducing report of the day, but there's no solid evidence that the increasing popularity of the bikini wax is, in fact, actually leading to the elimination of pubic lice. And, yes, we've heard this "trend" story before.
"Pubic lice, the crab-shaped insects that have dwelled in human groins since the beginning of history, are disappearing. Doctors say bikini waxing may be the reason." So began the promising (if a little gross) story from Jason Gale and Shannon Pettypiece, which gained traction pretty fast this morning:
Brazilian Bikini Waxes Make Crab Lice Endangered Species... drudge.tw/13vzXm8— DRUDGE REPORT (@DRUDGE_REPORT) January 14, 2013
And we get the novelty — something as frivolous and shallow as going bare down there might actually be doing some good! But go ahead and look back at Gale and Pettypiece's first line and you'll notice that doctors only told them that the waxing "may be the reason." Hmmm.
There's also this very important piece of the story:
Incidence data aren’t kept by the World Health Organization in Geneva because the gray, six-legged, millimeter-long louse doesn’t transmit disease, and national authorities such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta and U.K.’s Health Protection Agency don’t collect the information."
So organizations that we normally rely on to give us health reports don't really keep data on pubic lice. And since they aren't keeping tabs on your crotch critters, we're forced rely on unestablished data sets and anecdotal evidence:
Historically, it’s been very difficult to get incidence data on pubic lice simply because people don’t like to report it,” said Richard Russell, director of medical entomology at Sydney’s Westmead Hospital. “In over 40 years, I could count on two hands the number of people who had brought pubic lice in for identification and admitted to knowing what they were.
Dr. Russell's evidence is purely anecdotal — if people aren't reporting the lice down there (maybe because it's too gross) and experts at the CDC aren't really keeping tabs on crabs (maybe because it's not that frequent), then we're not really sure what kind of data we're working with beyond a trend story.