Granuloma Inguinale a.k.a Donovanosis? – Symptoms, Treatment and Prevention

What is Granuloma Inguinale?

Granuloma inguinale, also known as donovanosis, is caused by a bacterium infecting the genital region; more specifically, the skin and mucous membranes. It is mostly a sexually transmitted disease. The bacterium responsible for granuloma inguinale is the Klebsiella granulomatis. It is a very rare disease, occurring mostly in tropical and subtropical parts of the world – in under-developed countries, in regions like Southeast India, Guyana, and New Guinea.

Males are the ones who are the most times affected by it. Also, homosexuals are more vulnerable to contracting the disease as opposed to the heterosexual counterparts.

The bacteria causing the disease are transmitted to a person during sexual contact with one who is infected.

Granuloma inguinale is known by many other names:

  • Granuloma genitoinguinale
  • Granuloma inguinale tropicum
  • Granuloma venereum
  • Granuloma venereum genitoinguinale
  • Lupoid form of groin ulceration
  • Serpiginous ulceration of the groin
  • Ulcerating granuloma of the pudendum
  • Ulcerating sclerosing granuloma

Symptoms of Donovanosis

  • The symptoms began to appear a week after infection, or at times, up to 80 days later.
  • Appearance of lumps or blisters on genital area, or even near the anus.
  • The bumps are painless but they easily bleed if injured.
  • The blisters turn into open sores.
  • The disease spreads slowly to other areas.
  • The areas affected lose skin colour.

The lumps formed initially are not painful.

Contagiousness and Immunity of Donovanosis

The infected person remains contagious for as long as he is not treated. If he does receive the appropriate treatment, bacteria will flourish in the lesions and hence he would be in a state capable of transmitting the disease to others sexually.

The body does not develop immunity against the bacterial pathogens. Past infection, therefore, does not confer onto the person the ability to resist it in the future, in case of future infection.

Treatment for Donovanosis

Antibiotics have been formulated to do away with the bacteria responsible for granuloma inguinale. An infected person will take around 3 to 5 weeks to be completely cured from the disease. Generally, ampicillin will do the trick of wiping away the noxious bacteria. If a person does not receive treatment for the disease, he faces the risk of having his genital organs proper destroyed, and the spread of the bacteria to other body parts as well.

Prevention of Donovanosis

Prevention is better than cure, as the saying goes. Therefore, certain precautionary measures can be taken to avoid being infected:

  1. The use of preservatives
  2. Carefully washing genitals after sexual relations
  3. If infected, inform all those that one could have inadvertently infected
  4. Avoiding promiscuity.

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