The causative organism of chancroid, Haemophilus ducreyi, is generally considered to be very fastidious and its isolation, maintenance, and detailed study very demanding. In this study a modified medium was developed, which allowed the organism to be isolated more frequently than previously would have been expected. Twenty-two cases of chancroid were confirmed by the isolation of H ducreyi in 160 patients with genital ulceration examined over a one-year period. The cases were apparently unrelated, and in only five was there a history of recent sexual contact abroad. Concurrent infection with other sexually transmitted diseases was present in 18 (81.8%) patients, and in 14 (63.6%) both H ducreyi and herpes simplex virus were isolated form the same genital ulcers. Thus, these findings indicate that chancroid is underdiagnosed in England and that H ducreyi may frequently occur as a secondary invader of damaged genital skin and mucosa.
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