Gruesome sex disease found in Southport
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 chemist-4-u.com 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