Clinical and microbiologic studies of genital ulcers in Kenyan women.
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The etiology of genital ulcers in women in tropical regions is poorly understood. Eighty-nine women, presenting to a sexually transmitted disease clinic in Nairobi (Kenya) with a primary complaint of genital ulcers, were evaluated prospectively in a clinical and laboratory study. A final etiologic diagnosis was possible for 60 (67%) of the women. Culture for Haemophilus ducreyi was positive for 43 women, eight had secondary syphilis with ulcerated condyloma latum, three had primary syphilis, one had both chancroid and syphilis, two had moniliasis, two had herpetic ulceration, and one had a traumatic ulcer. The clinical characteristics that best distinguished chancroid from secondary syphilis were ulcer excavation and a rough ulcer base. No etiologic diagnosis was established for 29 patients. However, the clinical and epidemiologic features of these patients suggested that they were similar if not identical to the patients with H. ducreyi culture-positive chancroid. Further studies are necessary to determine the etiology of ulcers in females in whom no pathogen was identified.