We’ve all heard those urban legends about genital-dissolving STDs. Told in hushed tones at slumber parties, these sorts of stories have terrified generations of teenagers over the years.
But, what if the legend was true? According to the Lancashire Post, this disease does exist — although it is rare — and is called Donovanosis.
The rare disease, which causes genital ulcers that can, potentially, turn into a flesh-eating nightmare, was identified in Southport, England after an FOI (Freedom of Information) was by the online pharmacy chemist-4-u.com. According to the information garnered, Donovanosis was identified in an unnamed woman “between the age of 15 and 25 in the past 12 months.”
Usually, Donovanosis is a disease found in tropical and subtropical countries. Countries such as Southeast India, Guyana, New Guinea, and parts of South America are considered the usual suspects for this flesh-eating disease. So, it is unclear how the disease wound up being identified in a place such as England. According to past searched by the British Association for Sexual Health and HIV (BASHH), there have been no such recorded cases of Donovanosis in England on record.
The Australasian Sexual Health Alliance (ASHA) states that donovanosis is caused by the bacteria called Klebsiella Granulomatis and can cause “relatively painless anogenital ulceration.”
Donovanosis is a sexually transmitted disease. However, it can also be transmitted in some cases by casual contact. While the condition is rare, doctors are advised to consider the disease in patients that are returning from “areas where the disease may be endemic.”
The Lancashire Post states that if Donovanosis is left untreated, it can cause “nasty genital ulcers which grow and spread before flesh in the groin region starts to eat itself.” The disease usually becomes obvious one to 12 weeks after a person comes in contact with the bacteria. The ulcerations can lead to a foul smell as well as increase the chances the disease will accelerate into a flesh-eating disaster.
The good news is that donovanosis can be treated effectively with antibiotics and there are usually no ongoing health problems once the infection has been cleared.
According to the Lancashire Post, chemist-4-u.com was contacting hospital trusts nationwide to “find out how many diagnoses of STIs there had been, the age of people diagnosed, what sex and what region of the country they live in as part of extensive research into ‘The Great British STI Taboo,'” which led to the discovery that donovanosis had been identified for the first time in England.