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Granuloma inguinale (Donovanosis)  2006             

Granuloma inguinale is a genital ulcerative disease caused by the intracellular gram-negative bacterium Klebsiella granulomatis (formerly known as Calymmatobacterium granulomatis). The disease occurs rarely in the United States, although it is endemic in some tropical and developing areas, including India; Papua, New Guinea; central Australia; and southern Africa. Clinically, the disease is commonly characterized as painless, progressive ulcerative lesions without regional lymphadenopathy. The lesions are highly vascular (i.e., beefy red appearance) and bleed easily on contact. However, the clinical presentation also can include hypertrophic, necrotic, or sclerotic variants. The causative organism is difficult to culture, and diagnosis requires visualization of dark-staining Donovan bodies on tissue crush preparation or biopsy. No FDA-cleared PCR tests for the detection of K. granulomatis DNA exist, but such an assay might be useful if a CLIA verification study has been conducted. The lesions might develop secondary bacterial infection or can coexist with other sexually transmitted pathogens.


A limited number of studies on Donovanosis treatment have been published. Treatment halts progression of lesions, although prolonged therapy is usually required to permit granulation and reepithelialization of the ulcers. Healing typically proceeds inward from the ulcer margins. Relapse can occur 6–18 months after apparently effective therapy. Several antimicrobial regimens have been effective, but a limited number of controlled trials have been published (95).

Recommended Regimen

Alternative Regimens

Therapy should be continued at least 3 weeks and until all lesions have completely healed. Some specialists recommend the addition of an aminoglycoside (e.g., gentamicin 1 mg/kg IV every 8 hours) to these regimens if improvement is not evident within the first few days of therapy.


Patients should be followed clinically until signs and symptoms have resolved.

Management of Sex Partners  

Persons who have had sexual contact with a patient who has granuloma inguinale within the 60 days before onset of the patient’s symptoms should be examined and offered therapy. However, the value of empiric therapy in the absence of clinical signs and symptoms has not been established.

Special Considerations  


HIV Infection

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