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Update on lymphogranuloma venereum in the United Kingdom
  1. Heather Jebbari1,
  2. Sarah Alexander1,
  3. Helen Ward2,
  4. Barry Evans1,
  5. Maria Solomou1,
  6. Alicia Thornton1,
  7. Gillian Dean3,
  8. John White4,
  9. Patrick French5,
  10. Catherine Ison1,
  11. for the UK LGV Incident Group*
  1. 1Health Protection Agency, Centre for Infections, London, UK
  2. 2Department of Infectious Disease Epidemiology, Faculty of Medicine, Imperial College London, London SW7 2AZ, UK
  3. 3Claude Nicol Centre, Brighton, Sussex, UK
  4. 4Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospital, London, UK
  5. 5Mortimer Market Centre, Camden, London, UK
  1. Correspondence to:
 Professor C A Ison
 Health Protection Agency, Centre for Infections, London, UK; catherine.ison{at}


Objectives: This report updates the UK epidemiology of lymphogranuloma venereum (LGV) to the end of April 2007.

Methods: The Health Protection Agency’s Centre for Infections undertakes laboratory testing for LGV and subsequent epidemiological investigation of cases after laboratory confirmation of the LGV serovars (L1–3). Data analysis of enhanced surveillance and laboratory reports was undertaken.

Results: From October 2004 to end April 2007, 492 cases of LGV have been diagnosed and enhanced surveillance forms have been returned for 423. Cases peaked in the third quarter of 2005 with an average of 32 cases per month, while in 2006 this fell to 12 cases per month. Nationally, the outbreak is focused in London, Brighton and the North West. All cases are in men, 99% of whom are MSM, with a median age of 40 and predominantly white ethnicity (91%). Co-infection remains considerable: HIV (74%); hepatitis C (14%); syphilis (5%); and other STIs including gonorrhoea, genital herpes and hepatitis B. The number of men reporting greater than 10 sexual contacts in the previous 3 months has reduced from 23% (47) to 13% (15) from 2005–2006.

Discussion: The epidemic continues in the mostly white MSM population of the UK. The demographics of LGV remain similar to those previously described and high levels of HIV co-infection continue. Reduced numbers of sexual contacts might be contributing to the reduced numbers of LGV seen in 2006 but could simply mean that LGV is moving out of the highest risk groups.

  • LGV, lymphogranuloma venereum
  • MSM, men who have sex with men
  • STBRL, sexually transmitted bacterial reference laboratory

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  • * Helen Maguire, (Health Protection Agency London Epidemiology Unit); Lesley Wallace (Health Protection Scotland); Andrew Winter (Sandyford Initiative); Pat Munday (British Association for Sexual Health and HIV, and West Hertfordshire Hospitals NHS Trust); Patrick French (University College London Hospital); Will Nutland (Terrance Higgins Trust); Neil Irvine (Health Protection Agency Northern Ireland); Alexander McMillan (Edinburgh Royal Infirmary), Ann Sullivan (Chelsea & Westminster Hospital).

  • Competing interests: HW is co-editor and CI is an associate editor of STI.

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