Grue­some sex dis­ease found in South­port

Southport Visiter - - Front Page - BY CHANTELLE HEEDS chantelle.heeds@reach­ @chantelle­heeds www.pu­binthep­

ARARE sex­u­ally trans­mit­ted in­fec­tion which causes the gen­i­tals to erupt into flesh-eat­ing ul­cers has been di­ag­nosed in South­port.

Dono­vanosis is al­most un­known in the UK and is usu­ally found in far-flung trop­i­cal coun­tries – un­til now.

Shamir Pa­tel, of Skelmers­dale-based on­line phar­macy Chemist 4 U, said that if left un­treated, the “nasty gen­i­tal ul­cers grow and spread be­fore flesh in the groin re­gion lit­er­ally starts to eat it­self”.

This in­for­ma­tion came to light af­ter an FoI sub­mit­ted by on­line phar­macy re­vealed that the un­usual sex­u­ally trans­mit­ted dis­ease was di­ag­nosed in a wo­man be­tween the age of 15 and 25 in the past 12 months.

Mr Pa­tel said: “This is a very rare and nasty con­di­tion and it could be one of the first times it has been recorded in the UK.

“Although an­tibi­otics can treat dono­vanosis, early-stage cases might be go­ing un­di­ag­nosed be­cause it’s so un­com­mon in the UK.

“Bac­te­ria that cause the dis­ease, known as kleb­siella gran­u­lo­ma­tis, in­fect the skin around the gen­i­tals, groin or anal area and causes le­sions and skin dis­in­te­gra­tion as the flesh ef­fec­tively con­sumes it­self.

“Dono­vanosis it­self can be treated with an­tibi­otics.

“Time is of the essence. Any de­lay could cause the flesh around the gen­i­tals to lit­er­ally rot away.

“This bac­te­ria is also a risk fac­tor in the trans­mis­sion of HIV.”

The dis­ease is usu­ally found in trop­i­cal and sub­trop­i­cal coun­tries such as south­east In­dia, Guyana and New Guinea, but its rar­ity in Bri­tain means it doesn’t ap­pear on most STI lists com­piled by UK sex­ual health web­sites.

Although men are twice as likely to catch dono­vanosis as women, the re­cent South­port case con­cerns a young wo­man.

Sex with an in­fected per­son is not the only means of catch­ing the dis­ease.

Sim­ple con­tact with a vic­tim’s bleed­ing ul­cer is enough for it to be passed on and symp­toms can show one to 12 weeks af­ter com­ing into con­tact with the bac­te­ria.

Mr Pa­tel added: “With­out treat­ment, the ul­cers in­crease in size. Other bac­te­ria can also at­tack the ul­cers, which then gen­er­ate a foul smell.

“Half of in­fected men and women have sores in the anal area. Small, red, beefy lumps ap­pear in the anus, and the gen­i­tal re­gions, too.

“The bumps grad­u­ally erode but as the dis­ease spreads it starts to de­stroy tis­sues in the in­fected area.

“Pos­si­ble com­pli­ca­tions can in­clude per­ma­nent gen­i­tal dam­age and scar­ring, loss of skin colour and ir­re­versible gen­i­tal swelling due to the scar­ring.”

The Bri­tish As­so­ci­a­tion for Sex­ual Health and HIV (BASHH) said it had not found any pre­vi­ous cases in the UK.

A spokesper­son for Pub­lic Health Eng­land added: “Dono­vanosis pri­mar­ily oc­curs in trop­i­cal coun­tries or re­gions of the Amer­i­cas, South­ern Africa and Ocea­nia. It is very rarely di­ag­nosed and re­ported in the UK.”

Chemist 4 U con­tacted hospi­tal trusts around the country to find out how many di­ag­noses of dif­fer­ent STIs there had been, the age of peo­ple di­ag­nosed, what sex and what re­gion of the country they live in as part of ex­ten­sive re­search into “The Great Bri­tish STI Taboo”.

To find out more about the find­ings, and re­search, visit www.chemist-4-u. com.

Phar­ma­cist Shamir Pa­tel, of Chemist4-U warned of the dan­ges of the STI

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