Chancroid is a sexually acquired anogenital infection, caused by the bacterium Haemophilus ducreyi, and is rare in Europe.

Chancroid may be misidentified for a number of reasons; its similarity with a syphilitic chancre, its rare occurrence in Europe, and difficulties in detecting the causative pathogen.

The incubation period of chancroid is 4-7 days. Initial clinical features include tender erythematous papules, most often on the prepuce and frenulum in men and on the vulva, cervix, and perianal area in women. Genital papules quickly progress into pustules, which rupture after a few days and develop into genital ulcers, which are soft and painful, and regional lymphadenitis, which may develop into swelling and the formation of abscesses in the glands in the groin area (known as buboes).

Diagnosis is confirmed through laboratory testing. Antibiotics are usually effective in curing chancroid, however longer treatment courses may be necessary in immunocompromised patients. In advanced cases, scarring can occur, despite successful therapy.


Last updated: 20 August 2019