Introduction The surveillance of Lymphogranuloma venereum (LGV) in Belgium was reinforced in 2011 by a National Reference Centre of Sexually Transmitted Infections (NRC-STI) offering since then the confirmation of L serovar Chlamydia trachomatis by qPCR on biological material of suspected cases. The surveillance data of confirmed cases is send to the Institute of Public Health (IPH).
Methods Medical laboratories are asked to send biological specimens of LGV suspected cases and which are positive for C. trachomatis to the NRC-STI to confirm the presence of the C. trachomatis L type. Sociodemographic and clinical data are collected of suspected and confirmed cases.
Results The number of cases stayed stable in 2011 (N = 21) and 2012 (N = 23) but doubled (N = 45) and almost tripled (N = 59) in 2013 and 2014, respectively. Over the 4 years we observed 148 cases in 126 male patients and 1 transgender, the majority of them identified themselves as Men who have Sex with Men (MSM), being older (30–49 year) and HIV positive, with the exception of 7 HIV negative MSM in 2014. The patients were frequently co-infected with another STI. Gonorrhoea was the most frequently reported co-infection and proctitis was the predominant symptom. Sex work or contact with a sex worker was reported by four patients in 2014. Six patients experienced more than once (2–4) a LGV within 5 to 24 months since the last infection.
Conclusions Over 2011–2014, LGV was detected in mainly HIV positive MSM belonging to an older age group. STI co-infections were frequently detected.
The worrying finding is the multiple reinfections. It is not clear whether the re-infections are persistent infections due to treatment failure, re-infection caused by (an) untreated partner (s), or new infections.
The increasing number of LGV cases and the high number of re-infections calls for sensitisation and prevention campaigns for this population.
Disclosure of interest statement Nothing to declare.