Background: Over the past 2 years, lymphogranuloma venereum (LGV), caused by L serovars of Chlamydia trachomatis, has emerged as a significant problem among men who have sex with men (MSM). We report on, to our knowledge, the largest case series of LGV to date, with detailed epidemiological and clinical characteristics of the epidemic in the United Kingdom.
Methods: A national diagnostic service and surveillance system was established in October 2004. Cases were confirmed by the presence of C. trachomatis and an LGV serovar (L1, L2, or L3) from genotyping. For confirmed cases, an enhanced surveillance questionnaire was sent to the clinician.
Results: Through February 2006, a total of 327 cases of LGV were confirmed. Cases were diagnosed across the United Kingdom, with the majority from London (71%) and Brighton (13%). Case reports were received for 282 MSM. The majority (96%) had proctitis, many with severe local and systemic symptoms. There was a high level of coinfection with human immunodeficiency virus (76%), hepatitis C (19%), and other sexually transmitted infections (39%). Nine cases of human immunodeficiency virus infection were diagnosed around the same time as LGV. Most cases were acquired within the United Kingdom, although patients with early cases were more likely to report contacts in The Netherlands.
Conclusions: We found a significant burden of this once-rare sexually transmitted infection among MSM in the United Kingdom. LGV may be contributing to the epidemic of human immunodeficiency virus infection by facilitating transmission. Further control efforts are required, including awareness campaigns, continued detailed surveillance, and expanded chlamydia testing among MSM.