Purpose of review: This review was prompted by a sustained outbreak of lymphogranuloma venereum that has been observed among men who have sex with men (MSM) worldwide since 2004. Recent developments in the epidemiology, diagnosis and management of the infection are summarized.
Recent findings: Between the early 1980s and 2003, lymphogranuloma venereum was rarely seen in the developed world. In 2003, a cluster of cases was seen in the Netherlands occurring mostly in HIV-positive MSM with high levels of sexual risk. With the assistance of novel molecular diagnostic techniques, more than a thousand cases of Chlamydia trachomatis L2 serovar disease have now been reported in MSM worldwide. Almost all have presented with rectal infection, usually manifesting as severe proctitis, with ulcer adenopathy syndrome seldom seen. Oral doxycycline remains the recommended treatment and has proven effective in the recent outbreak. Conflicting data exist regarding the prevalence of asymptomatic infection, and our understanding of the exact modes of transmission remains incomplete.
Summary: Lymphogranuloma venereum appears to have reestablished endemicity among MSM populations in many industrialized nations. In the relative absence of recent publications from its traditional endemic regions it can be assumed that these populations remain afflicted by the infection as well.