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Lymphogranuloma venereum (LGV)

Cause

Bacteria - Certain strains of Chlamydia trachomatis.

Distribution

Countries with warm, humid climates for example, Africa, Asia, South America and the West Indies.

Transmission

Sexual

Incubation

1 - 4 weeks to the development of buboes (swollen lymph glands)

Symptoms

The first sign is a small ulcer which is usually missed because it is painless and heals very quickly. Most patients are alerted by the finding of painful lymph glands (buboes) in the groin. There may be fever,  malaise (feeling of illness) and body aches.

Diagnosis

  • Physical examination
  • Blood test - LGV-CFT
  • Culture of pus from the bubo

Treatment

  • Tetracycline by mouth.
  • Drainage of buboes if they become filled with pus.
  • Surgery for scars and sinuses (openings leading into the skin).

Complications

  • The buboes of LGV may rupture through several openings (sinuses) and pus may continue to be discharged from these sinuses for several weeks before healing occurs.
  • Severe scarring may follow and this may obstruct the flow of lymph (a tissue fluid) from the region. Genital elephantiasis - swelling and distortion of the genitals may result from it.
  • Rectal infection which may occur in male homosexuals may result in scarring and narrowing of the rectum.