There is now a flesh-eating STI to be aware of

For the first time, doctors in the UK have diagnosed a sexually transmitted infection (STI) that’s known as the genital flesh eating disease. Its real name is Donovanosis, and while it starts out as skin ulcers, if untreated, it can wear away the genital tissue.

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The fact that people in the UK have this disease was revealed when an online pharmacy submitted a freedom of information (FOI) question about it. The answer revealed that two women in Bolton, and one in Southport, had contracted the disease.

Symptoms to watch for

About twelve weeks after the disease is caught, red bumps appear on the genital region and the anus. This is the time to seek urgent treatment. After a while, the ulcers begin to grow and if the disease is not treated, and continues to progress for a long enough period, these ulcers spread, and the surrounding flesh begins to be consumed by the disease.

The bacteria that underlie the disease are called klebsiella granulomatis. They infect the skin in the genital or anal area, or in the groin. They cause what the doctors call “lesions” – that’s to say red ulcers or lumps. The skin disintegrates as the bacterial infection consumes it. Also, the bad news doesn’t end there, because these bacteria are known to have a role in the passing on of HIV infection.

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According to The Independent, there are four different types of this disease, and not all will result in the flesh being consumed, although all have upleasant and painful effects.

Antibiotics will work if used early

As with all very rare diseases, cases of donovanosis might not be diagnosed at an early stage because doctors won’t have seen a case before. However, health services are now alerted, and it’s essential to seek early diagnosis. For an STI test Bexley is a good place to go. The good news is that antibiotics can currently be used effectively.

Why has it suddenly appeared?

No one seems to know why it should appear in the UK now. STIs are monitored by The British Association for Sexual Health and HIV (BASHH) and they’ve never seen the disease in the UK before. It is seen in subtropical and tropical areas and is found in places such as Guyana, New Guinea and SouthEastern India.

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