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One-hundred thirteen men (mean age, 23 years) who presented with inguinal buboes to a government-operated hospital for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) in Bangkok were studied between February 1987 and February 1989. The median duration of preceding symptoms was 7 days (range, 1-62 days). The majority of patients (74; 65%) had received treatment previously; 31 (27%) were febrile, 13 (12%) had extrainguinal lymphadenopathy, and 31 (27%) had concurrent active genital ulcers. There was no history of genital ulceration in 66 (58%) of the patients. Pus was obtained from 51 of the 110 buboes aspirated for culture; 21 (41%) of these cultures yielded Haemophilus ducreyi, and 2 (3.9%) were positive for Chlamydia trachomatis on immunofluorescence microscopy. Saline (1 mL) was injected and reaspirated from the buboes of 35 of the other 59 patients; 3 buboes yielded H. ducreyi and 9 were positive for C. trachomatis. All cultures for other aerobic and anaerobic bacteria and viruses in intact buboes were negative. Syphilis serology was positive in only one case. Patients attending STD clinics in this region who have large, fluctuant, edematous inguinal buboes containing pus should receive presumptive treatment for chancroid. If there is no pus, then the bubo is more likely to be caused by lymphogranuloma venereum.

Original publication




Journal article


Clin Infect Dis

Publication Date





233 - 239


Adolescent, Adult, Anti-Bacterial Agents, Chancroid, Chlamydia trachomatis, Erythromycin, Haemophilus ducreyi, Humans, Lymph Nodes, Lymphogranuloma Venereum, Male, Prospective Studies, Tetracycline, Thailand