A young British woman has contracted this year a rare sexually transmitted infection (STI) called donovanosis, which can cause genital ulcers and destroy tissue.
An extremely rare sexually transmitted infection (STI) was diagnosed in a young British woman aged between 15 and 25 in Southport, England. This disease, called donovanosis, is caused by the bacterium Klebsiella granulomatis. According to SA Health, the public health system in South Australia, the latter causes small painless sores (ulcers) on the genitals, groin and anal area. The ulcers enlarge and form red bumps that bleed easily and usually give off a foul odor. Untreated patients may experience irreversible genital lesions, scars and discoloration around the intimate area. Donovanosis is also a risk factor for HIV transmission.
The case of this woman was discovered when an English online pharmacy, under a Freedom of Information request (FOI), wanted to know how many STI diagnoses there had been in the past 12 months, the age of people diagnosed, gender and location in the country. According to the Daily Mail, it is difficult to know how the woman was infected or if she had complications.
The peculiarity of this case lies in its location. Indeed, this disease is practically non-existent in the United Kingdom. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), about 100 cases are reported per year in the United States and mainly among people returning from areas where the disease is common (India, Papua New Guinea, the Caribbean, Guyana, Central Australia, Australia). Cases occurring in the United Kingdom or the United States are therefore generally due to unprotected sex (genital, anal and more rarely oral) in places where Klebsiella granulomatis is found. Symptoms may appear between one and 12 weeks after exposure to the bacteria. Donovanosis is treated with antibiotics, which usually need to be taken for several weeks, and as quickly as possible to avoid complications.