A RARE flesh-eating infection is spreading in the UK and could cause 'beefy red ulcers' on your genitals, one doctor has warned.
Donovanosis is thought to be more common in places like India and South Africa, but cases are starting to creep up in the UK.
The bacterial infection can be transmitted by contact and if you catch it – it can cause your skin to decay unless it's swiftly treated.
NHS doctor Karan Rajan said anyone who thinks they have the infection should go and get checked out immediately.
Posting to TikTok he said: "This is what you need to know about a flesh-eating STD that is spreading in the UK.
“This rare sexually transmitted disease causes beefy red ulcers to appear on the genital and anal areas.
“It's known as donovanosis, it's usually restricted to more humid climates, Brazil, India, New Guinea but it's rising in the UK.”
Before the coronavirus pandemic swept the UK, cases of the virus had been on the rise, data from Public Health England (PHE) shows.
Total reported instances across the country swelled from 19 in 2016 to 30 in 2019.
Even during the pandemic and related lockdowns, there were still 18 cases in England.
Dr Rajan explained: "This terrifying STD caused by the bacteria Klebsiella granulomatis not only causes bloody sores and ulcers which can get infected but also increases the risk of HIV transmission.
"To find out if you have this to test will involve skin scrapings and a blood test.”
The STI is also known as klebsiella granulomatis and creates lesions around the groin and genital regions which can turn into foul-smelling ulcers if infected.
Across the country, searches for 'sexually transmitted infections' have gone up by 100 per cent in the last month alone – as more people get busy beneath the sheets following months of lockdowns due to Covid.
TikTokers who follow Dr Karan were shocked by the virus with some saying how they are glad they are in a relationship.
Another joked: "I am now a nun".
Another expert had previously warned Brits about the illness and said that figures from PHE suggest the infection is becoming even more common on UK shores.
Symptom checker: The signs you need to know when it comes to STIs
The NHS advises that you should go to a sexual health clinic if you have the following symptoms.
- Bleeding during or after sex
- Pain during sex
- Bleeding between period
- Pain in your abdomen
- Yellow or green discharge from your vagina, or discharge that smells
- Pain in your testicles
- Discharge from your penis
There are some symptoms that can also occur in both men and women and these include:
- pain when passing urine
- itching, burning or tingling around your genitals
- blisters, sores, spots or lumps around your genitals or anus
- black powder or tiny white dots in your underwear (this could be droppings or eggs from pubic lice)
Consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist at London MyHealthcare Clinic Dr Shree Datta explained that symptoms of the nasty STI normally emerge within a month of sexual contact with an infected person.
She did, however, warn that a small number of people can become infected by skin-to-skin contact.
She added: “Using contraception significantly reduces the risk of contracting the disease, while it can be treated with antibiotics.
“But severe cases can lead to permanent scarring and damage to the genitals, as well as discolouration and even irreversible swelling, so this is definitely one to watch.”
Data from PHE shows that London had the highest number of cases of the STI.
It states that 42 cases were recorded in both sexes over the last five years – including a spike of 19 cases in 2019.
The North West had the second highest number of cases, with 21 over the same period, followed by Yorkshire and the Humber, with 14 and the South East with 11.
Overall cases across England from 2016-2020 totalled 114 – in contrast to more than a million cases of chlamydia and 266,000 of gonorrhoea.
In 2018, a Freedom of Information request revealed that a female between the ages of 15 and 25 from Southport, Merseyside, had contracted Donovanosis within the previous 12 months.
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