Chancroid - including symptoms, treatment and prevention
Chancroid is a sexually transmitted disease caused by the bacterium Haemophilus ducreyi. It is rarely seen in Australia but is common in tropical countries.
Chancroid is a notifiable condition1
How chancroid is spread
Chancroid is spread by anal or genital sex.
Signs and symptoms of chancroid
A red lump occurs at the site of infection in the genital area or around the anus.This lump fills with pus and eventually ruptures leaving an open sore (also known as an ulcer). The ulcer is usually 1 to 2 centimetres in diameter with soft, irregular borders that bleed easily on contact.The ulcer can be very painful, especially in men, but women are often unaware of them.It is common for there to be more than one ulcer.
Some people develop swollen, hard and painful lymph glands in the groin.This results in a painful pus filled swelling, which will eventually rupture.
Some people with chancroid infection may not show any symptoms.
Tests for chancroid are not usually done in Australia. If tests for common causes of genital sores are negative then specimens from the ulcer may be collected and sent for specific testing.
(time between becoming infected and developing symptoms)
Usually 4 to 10 days with a range of 1 to 35 days.
(time during which an infected person can infect others)
Chancroid is contagious while the infected person has open sores.
Treatment for chancroid
Effective antibiotic treatment is available on prescription from a doctor. Ulcers usually heal within two weeks.It is important to complete the course of antibiotics and attend follow-up visits to ensure the infection has been cured.
If left untreated, the ulcers get bigger and destroy areas of skin and genital tissue and infected glands can rupture.
Pain killers can be taken if needed.
Prevention of chancroid
exclusion from school and work is not necessary
practice safer sex
do not have sex until antibiotic treatment is completed and the sores have completely healed
contact all sexual partners for testing and, treatment if indicated.
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