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Haemophilus ducreyi, Molecular Detection

Molecular testing for Haemophilus ducreyi is used for the rapid and accurate laboratory diagnosis of the infection caused by these microorganisms.

Chancroid, also known as "soft chancre" or "ulcus molle," is a sexually transmitted infection (STI) caused by the bacterium Haemophilus ducreyi. It is a relatively rare STI but can lead to painful genital ulcers and has been associated with an increased risk of acquiring HIV infection. In geographic locations where chancroid is endemic, the overlap in clinical symptoms among the most common Genital Ulcer Diseases (e.g., syphilis, herpes, chancroid) makes diagnosis based on clinical symptoms only, unreliable.

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Causative Agent: Chancroid is caused by Haemophilus ducreyi, a Gram-negative bacterium. It primarily affects the genital area but can also occur in the anal region.

Transmission: Chancroid is primarily spread through sexual contact, including vaginal, anal, and oral sex, with an infected person. It is more common in regions with high rates of other STIs and in areas with poor hygiene and limited access to healthcare.


  • Painful genital ulcers or sores: Chancroid typically begins with the development of one or more painful ulcers or sores at the site of infection. These ulcers are often soft, irregularly shaped, and tend to bleed.
  • Enlarged lymph nodes: Chancroid can cause painful and swollen lymph nodes in the groin area (inguinal lymphadenitis).
  • Discharge: Some individuals may experience a discharge from the genital area.

Diagnosis: Chancroid can be diagnosed through a combination of clinical examination and laboratory tests. The major problem associated with this infection is whether the physician recognizes that an infection may be chancroid and, as a result, requests the appropriate diagnostic tests (low index of suspicion in nonendemic areas). The high likelihood of misdiagnosis of sexually transmitted infections presenting as genital ulcers in both endemic and nonendemic countries makes diagnostic testing critical. Molecular methods (PCR) are recognized as more sensitive than culture for H. ducreyi detection.

Treatment: Chancroid is typically treated with antibiotics, such as azithromycin or ceftriaxone, which can effectively cure the infection. Prompt treatment is important to alleviate symptoms, prevent complications, and reduce the risk of transmission.

Complications: If left untreated, chancroid can lead to complications such as the formation of abscesses, scarring, and the development of chronic, non-healing ulcers. It can also increase the risk of acquiring or transmitting HIV.

Epidemiology: Chancroid is relatively rare in many parts of the world, and its prevalence has decreased over the years due to improved sexual health education and access to healthcare. It is more common in certain regions, particularly in parts of Africa and Asia.

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