What is the rare flesh eating STI? The key signs to never ignore

A HORRIFYING flesh eating STI is spreading in the UK – with doctors warning of the signs to look out for.

It comes after Brits have spent a summer mingling and dating again, after months of Covid restrictions.

But more people are reporting suffering with the disease, which can be serious if untreated.

Here we outline the symptoms to watch out for, and what to do if you're worried you've caught the bug.

Across the country, searches for 'sexually transmitted infections' have gone up by 100 per cent in the last month alone – as more people get busy beneath the sheets following months of lockdowns due to Covid.

Experts had previously warned Brits about the illness and said early figures suggested the infection is becoming even more common on UK shores.

What is the STI?

It is called Donovanosis and is usually more common in places like India and South Africa, but cases are starting to creep up in England.

The bacterial infection can be transmitted by contact and if you catch it – it can cause your skin to decay unless it's swiftly treated.

The STI is also known as klebsiella granulomatis and creates lesions around the groin and genital regions which can turn into foul-smelling ulcers if infected.

Consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist at London MyHealthcare Clinic Dr Shree Datta explained that symptoms of the nasty STI normally emerge within a month of sexual contact with an infected person.

She did, however, warn that a small number of people can become infected by skin-to-skin contact.

She added: “Using contraception significantly reduces the risk of contracting the disease, while it can be treated with antibiotics.

“But severe cases can lead to permanent scarring and damage to the genitals, as well as discolouration and even irreversible swelling, so this is definitely one to watch.”

She warned it also appears to affect men more.

What are the symptoms?

It starts with small painless ulcers, sores or lumps appearing in the genital area – including the tip of the penis, the skin outside the vagina and around the anus.

An ulcer then spreads slowly, looking like a fleshy lump that destroys skin.

Following this a second infection can then develop which causes pain, swelling and a bad smell.

NHS doctor Karan Rajan said anyone who thinks they have the infection should go and get checked out immediately.

Posting to TikTok he said: "This is what you need to know about a flesh-eating STD that is spreading in the UK.

“This rare sexually transmitted disease causes beefy red ulcers to appear on the genital and anal areas.

“It's known as donovanosis, it's usually restricted to more humid climates, Brazil, India, New Guinea but it's rising in the UK.”

Dr Rajan explained: "This terrifying STD caused by the bacteria Klebsiella granulomatis not only causes bloody sores and ulcers which can get infected but also increases the risk of HIV transmission.

"To find out if you have this to test will involve skin scrapings and a blood test.”

Symptom checker: The signs you need to know when it comes to STIs

The NHS advises that you should go to a sexual health clinic if you have the following symptoms.


  • Bleeding during or after sex
  • Pain during sex
  • Bleeding between period
  • Pain in your abdomen
  • Yellow or green discharge from your vagina, or discharge that smells


  • Pain in your testicles
  • Discharge from your penis

There are some symptoms that can also occur in both men and women and these include:

  • pain when passing urine
  • itching, burning or tingling around your genitals
  • blisters, sores, spots or lumps around your genitals or anus
  • black powder or tiny white dots in your underwear (this could be droppings or eggs from pubic lice)

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