How to Know if You Have Donovanosis

The disease has become endemic in many underdeveloped countries (Western New Guinea, the Caribbean, Southern India, South Africa, Southeast Asia, Australia, and Brazil). In the US there are fewer than 100 cases reported annually, many of which are due to foreign travel. The highest incidence occurs in persons aged 20-40 years.


  1. 1
    Learn the Symptoms
    • The first symptoms can include upset stomach, diarrhea, and rectal discomfort.
    • The main symptom of Donovanosis is the appearance of small, red, painless nodules on the genital area after 10-40 days of the contact with the bacteria. Later these protuberances burst, leading to open, fleshy, oozing lesions.
  2. 2
    Know that There are Four Types of Lesions
    • Ulcerovegetative type (most common): These lesions develop from the nodular type and consist of large, usually painless, spreading, exuberant ulcers. The ulcers have clean, friable bases with distinct, raised, rolled margins. The ulcers are typically beefy red in appearance and bleed easily;
    • Nodular type: Soft, often pruritic (itching), red nodules arise at the site of inoculation and eventually ulcerate and present a bright red granulating surface;
    • Cicatricial type: Dry ulcers evolve into cicatricial plaques;
    • Hypertrophic or verrucous type (relatively rare): This proliferative reaction with formation of large vegetating masses may resemble genital warts.


  • People who are at risk for contracting donovanosis are:
  • Donovanosis has an incubation period ranging from 1 week to 3 months.
  • The treatment can either be of 3 weeks with erythromycin, streptomycin, or tetracycline, or of 12 weeks with ampicillin. Although the infection begins to subside after a week of treatment it is compulsory to follow the full treatment period in order to minimize relapse.
  • You can prevent this. Donovanosis is very rare in developed countries, like the United States (approximately 100 cases reported each year), but the risk of contracting Donovanosis is increased by sexual contacts with individuals in endemic regions. Preventative measures for Donovanosis are refraining from these sexual contacts and STD testing before beginning a sexual relationship. Also use a condom before you engage in any type of sexual activity.


  • Hematogenous dissemination to the spleen, the lungs, the liver, the bones, and the orbits may occur and occasionally results in demise.
  • If left untreated, Donovanosis can lead to permanent genital scarring, destruction of the genitals, loss of skin pigmentation around the genitals or swelling of the subcutaneous tissue in the groin region.

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Categories: Skin Conditions