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October 1989

ChancroidA Newly Important Sexually Transmitted Disease

Author Affiliations

Departments of Internal Medicine and Medical Microbiology University of Manitoba 730 William Ave Winnipeg, Canada R3E OW3

Arch Dermatol. 1989;125(10):1413-1414. doi:10.1001/archderm.1989.01670220109018

This is the centenary of Ducreyi's discovery of the bacillus, Haemophilus ducreyi.1 During the initial two decades following his discovery, at least a score of microbiologists and clinicians studied both the organism and the disease, chancroid. However, for the following seven decades, there was a dearth of interest, with fewer than 30 significant publications. In most laboratories, the etiologic agent, H ducreyi, could not be reproducibly cultured from individuals with genital ulcers. Public health authorities were dubious that H ducreyi was responsible for chancroid, and it was suggested that chancroid was an atypical presentation of herpes simplex. The epidemiology was not understood. Sulfonamides were discovered to be effective for the treatment of chancroid, and a steady decline in the reported number of cases ensued. In 1977, only 455 cases were reported in the United States.

During the 10th decade of the H ducreyi century, interest reawakened. Outbreaks of chancroid

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