There are different types of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and these usually spread through engaging in unprotected sex with an affected person. Different kinds of STDs have various symptoms, and their treatment methods significantly differ.
In August 2018, the media in the UK reported a rare type of flesh-eating STD called donovanosis (Granuloma Inguinale). The disease causes ulcerative lesions around the genitals or other areas that are susceptible to heavy bleeding. The condition is quite new in the UK but it exists in other countries.
The affected person was a woman between 15 and 25 years, and it seems the media sensationalized the issue in their reports. The UK reports about the disease are a result of a single diagnosis of this woman. However, it is essential to take a closer analysis of this type of STD or in England, it is called a sexually transmitted infection (STI).
What Are The Causes of Donovanosis?
Like other forms of STDs, donovanosis spreads through engaging in sexual intercourse with an infected person. Unprotected sex usually promotes the spread of STDs. The condition of donovanosis also spreads through getting into contact with the ulcers of the infected person.
In other words, health care professionals or any other caregiver should avoid getting into contact with ulcers of infected people. It is also essential for other ordinary people to avoid indulging in unprotected with multiple partners. As a general rule, prevention is better than cure.
The disease is rare in the US, but it is common in other tropical places like Australia, India, Southern Africa, and the Caribbean. A few cases of donovanosis are reported yearly in the UK. According to research, the reported cases are a result of the affected people indulging in unprotected sex with people from countries where the disease is prevalent.
Symptoms And Diagnosis Of Donovanosis
According to the CDC, the disease is painless, and it causes continuous ulcerative lesions on the genitals. The injuries are red in appearance, and they are usually characterized by bleeding. The infection can extend to other intra-abdominal organs as well as the bones or mouth.
The other issue with the lesions is that they can lead to the development of secondary bacterial infection. The wounds can live with other different forms of sexually transmitted pathogens. However, the exact organism that causes Donovanosis is challenging to identify.
To keep it more private get tested online for other STDs to rule those out. Diagnosis requires visual identification of the dark staining Donovan elements on tissue crush preparation. Currently, there are no FDA molecular tests that can help in the detection of K. granulomatis. Further investigations by laboratories can be useful in the examination of the molecules that can assist in the detection of granulomas.
Treatment Of Donovanosis
The treatment of Donovanosis involves oral intake of antibiotics for about three weeks. The patient takes the medication orally twice a day for three weeks until the lesions completely heal. When the signs of improvement are not evident during the first days of treatment, then the patient can take another additional antibiotic.
The treatment halts progression of lesions and healing moves inwards from the margins of the ulcers. Extended therapy is essential to permit re-epithelialization and granulation of the sores. However, the Centers for Disease Control state that the treatment of this disease can be tricky. The patients face a risk of relapse or further deterioration of the condition after a period of between six and eighteen months.
A delay in treatment of the disease can lead to the flesh around the genitals rotting away. Like other types of bacterial infections, they can eat away the healthy tissue of the skin if not treated. The ulcerations on the genitals caused by the disease can spread to other tissue, and this is not a unique case to Donovanosis.
In case of pregnancy, expecting mothers should avoid treatment regimens like Doxycycline during their second and third trimesters of pregnancy. Ciprofloxacin does not pose a high risk to the fetus. Sulfonamides should be avoided during the third trimester since they cause rare but severe kernicterus.
Other Management Options
There are also other management options that are vital on top of antibiotic therapy. A follow-up visit is essential to the patient until all the symptoms and signs have been resolved. It is also crucial that all persons diagnosed with granuloma inguinale should even get HIV testing. It is also significant that people who test HIV positive and have granuloma inguinale should get the same antibiotic regimens just those without HIV.
Many STDs usually have a link with HIV hence early testing will be will an added advantage to the affected person. When a person tests positive, he can take corrective measures like behavior change as well as antiretroviral therapy before it is too late.
The term “flesh-eating” is however too powerful to describe a condition that is not entirely new concerning STDs. Indeed, research shows that Donovanosis can be dangerous if left untreated. In the same vein, gonorrhea and Chlamydia are other types of STDs that can be dangerous as well if left untreated.
The stage of “flesh-eating” is uncommon and preventable and this single case does not prove it yet. Indeed, it is vital that members of the public take safety precautions to prevent the condition of Donovanosis just like any other STD. Sexually transmitted diseases can be dangerous just like other conditions if left untreated over a long period.
STDs In England
In 2017, about 420,000 cases of STD were diagnosed in the UK. Chlamydia tops the list accounting for 48 percent of the total cases. As such, the diagnosis of Donovanosis does not pose a severe threat to the health sectors as reported in some media in the US.
The disease cannot be said to be prevalent from a single diagnosis. There is a need for every concerned person in the UK to avoid contracting or transmitting STDs to other people. The best remedy in ensuring quality sexual health is to avoid unprotected sex with multiple partners. It is also essential to go for STD testing periodically so that you always know your status.