While chancroid is a major cause of genital disease in Southeast Asia, sub-Saharan Africa, and Latin America, it is not common in the United States. Although the World Health Organization (WHO) estimated 7 million annual cases in 2001, definitive epidemiologic data are generally not available due to underreporting and difficulty isolating H. ducreyi in the laboratory.
Sex workers and people from a low socioeconomic class are at higher risk. Chancroid is a significant risk factor for heterosexual transmission of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).
The incubation period is 3-7 days. Prodromal symptoms and systemic symptoms are rare. The disease begins as a papule in the genital area and becomes a shaggy, painful ulceration within days. Untreated lesions can become quite destructive.
A57 – Chancroid
266143009 – Chancroid
- Primary syphilis typically has a firm, painless ulcer with a border that is not undermined. Syphilis has a longer incubation period (3 weeks, versus 1 week for a chancroid). The ulcer from syphilis will heal with or without treatment. A chancroid ulcer will not heal without treatment; it will enlarge.
- The ulcers of donovanosis (granuloma inguinale) are beefy-red indurated ulcers that heal and scar and then start again in a nearby area.
- Herpes presents with single or multiple painful ulcers.
- Lymphogranuloma venereum begins with a painless papule, erosion, or ulcer that heals in a few days, sometimes leaving a small scale that disappears without a scar in a few days. Enlarged, tender lymph nodes (buboes) then appear.
- Behçet syndrome