Friday 22 September 2017

Gay men warned of rare chlamydia outbreak in Ireland

Jennifer McShane

Gay men are being warned of an outbreak of a rare type of chlamydia in Ireland in recent months.

The HSE has put together a task team to deal with the sexually transmitted infection that can occur among men who have sex with men, The Sunday Times report.

The Outbreak Control Team was convened after the outbreak was declared last October. It is believed to be the first of its kind in Ireland.

Advertisements with details of the STI have also featured in the Gay Community News magazine for the past number of months.

Among other details, the ad says, “LGV is increasing among sexually active gay men, especially amongst men living with HIV.”

The notices urge those that are sexually active to go for regular STI checkups, and those living with HIV to arrange a checkup at their nearest HIV treatment clinic.

They also say that LGV is easy to diagnose and treat, and are urging gay men to be more self-aware regarding their sexual health, and get tested.

The outbreak is known as Lymphogranuloma Venereum (LGV) - associated with the Chlamydia bacteria. It is currently being investigated in the HSE East region by an outbreak team following 35 notified cases of the sexually transmitted infection (STI) since May last year, according to the Sunday newspaper.

All cases of LGV in Ireland so far are from men who are sexually active with other men, and most of these are also HIV-positive.

Thirty-three cases have been identified in Dublin, and the remaining two cases in adjoining counties, according to the Health Protection Surveillance Centre.

A spokesperson for HSE said: "An outbreak of lymphogranuloma venereum (LGV) is currently being investigated by a LGV Outbreak Control Team (OCT)."

"In this outbreak there have been 35 notifications of LGV since May 2014. All of these notifications have been among men who have sex with men (MSM) and most cases are HIV-positive."

"The outbreak is centred in Dublin with 33 of the cases resident in the Greater Dublin area and the remaining two cases resident in adjoining counties."

Key points in the prevention of LGV transmission:

  • Importance of safer sex practices and the importance of regular STI testing for those at risk of STIs.

Further details for MSM available at: www.man2man.ie

  • Clinicians should consider the possibility of LGV in HIV-positive MSM who present with proctitis or other symptoms of lower gastrointestinal inflammation. Please check local arrangements for LGV testing with your local STI services and laboratory.
  • Clinicians should notify any cases of LGV to their local Director of Public Health. Contact details are available at:http://www.hpsc.ie/NotifiableDiseases/Whotonotify/File,13160,en.pdf

The HSE confirmed that alerts have been sent to clinicians specialising in STI and HIV services as well as to clinical microbiologists, gastroenterologists, colorectal surgeons and Directors of Public Health.

LGV can mimic inflammatory bowel disease, so an alert has been sent to the Faculty of Pathology regarding the histopathological features of LGV.

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