Lymphogranuloma venereum (LGV) is a sexually transmitted disease that is rare in developed countries but common in Africa and Asia. It is caused by the Chlamydia organism that is a bacteria-like germ that lives inside cells and destroys them. The incubation period after sexual contact is one to three weeks.
A sore develops on the penis or vulva, then the lymph nodes in the groin become infected, swollen, soften and suppurate (drain pus) onto the skin. The infection may spread to cause joint, skin, brain and eye infections. If anal intercourse has occurred, sores and pus discharging lymph nodes may form in and around the anus. The initial sore and pus discharging lymph nodes are not painful and only if the disease spreads does a fever develop.
It is diagnosed by special skin and blood tests.
Antibiotics such as tetracyclines are prescribed and surgical procedures to drain pus from lymph nodes may be necessary.
If left untreated disfiguring scarring will occur in the groin at the site of the infected lymph nodes and the genitals may become permanently swollen and if the infection spreads to other organs, they may be seriously damaged.
The majority of cases are cured by appropriate treatment.