May 31, 2005
One LGV patient at Boston's Fenway Community Health clinic said he probably acquired the disease while visiting Brazil. "This is probably a case of biological tourism," said Dr. Daniel Cohen, an infectious-disease specialist who has treated patients at the clinic.
Though LGV has been rare outside the tropics for the last two decades, in November the Netherlands reported 92 cases among gay and bisexual men over the preceding year, rather than the typical two to three cases. CDC has also confirmed LGV cases in San Francisco, Atlanta, and New York. Unprotected anal intercourse has been the main risk factor for LGV, and U.S. cases have remained isolated to gay and bisexual men.
LGV's reemergence could indicate an increase of riskier sex, said Dr. Alfred DeMaria, Massachusetts' director of communicable-diseases control. "And that's a concern in terms of other sexually transmitted diseases and HIV," he said.
LGV symptoms include a painless pimple or lesion of the genitals, followed by painful rectal infections. If identified early, LGV can be treated with antibiotics. Left untreated, the STD can damage the bowels and cause swelling and scarring of the genitals.