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Head and neck manifestations of lymphogranuloma venereum

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August 1, 2008
by Diana T. Albay, MD and Glenn E. Mathisen, MD


Lymphogranuloma venereum (LGV)—caused by Chlamydia trachomatis serovars L1, L2, or L3—rarely occurs in the United States. The disease clinically manifests in three stages: primary, secondary, and tertiary. The primary manifestation, a self-limited genital ulcer at the site of inoculation, often is absent by the time the patient seeks medical attention. The most common clinical manifestation of LGV is evident in its secondary stage: unilateral tender inguinal and/or femoral lymphadenopathy. However, proctocolitis or inflammatory involvement of perirectal or perianal lymphatic tissues resulting in fistulas and strictures may also occur. The diagnosis of LGV is usually made serologically and by exclusion of other causes of inguinal lymphadenopathy or genital ulcers. Doxycycline is the preferred treatment; it cures the infection and prevents ongoing tissue damage. This case highlights an unusual manifestation of LGV infection—cervical lymphadenopathy following suspected oropharyngeal infection with C trachomatis. Head and neck manifestations of LGV may become an increasing problem in the future if sexual practices such as orogenital contact become more widespread.

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