Send to

Choose Destination
PLoS One. 2013 May 21;8(5):e63953. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0063953. Print 2013.

Etiology of genital ulcer disease in a sexually transmitted infection reference center in Manaus, Brazilian Amazon.

Author information

Fundação Alfredo da Matta, Manaus, Brazil ; Instituto Leônidas e Maria Deane - Fiocruz Amazônia, Manaus, Brazil.



To determine the etiology and factors associated with genital ulcer disease (GUD) among patients presenting to a sexually transmitted infections clinic in Manaus, Brazil; and to compare a multiplex polymerase chain reaction (M-PCR) assay for the diagnosis of GUD with standard methods.


Ulcer swabs were collected and used for Tzanck test and processed in an M-PCR to detect herpes simplex virus (HSV-1/2), Treponema pallidum (T. pallidum), and Haemophilus ducreyi (H. ducreyi). Sera were tested for HIV and syphilis antibodies. Multivariable analysis was used to measure the association between clinical aspects and GUD. M-PCR results were compared with syphilis serology and Tzanck tests.


Overall, 434 GUD samples were evaluated, 84.8% from men. DNA from HSV-2 was detected in 55.3% of GUD samples, T. pallidum in 8.3%, HSV-1 in 3.2%, and 32.5% of GUD specimens were negative for the DNA of all three pathogens. No cases of H. ducreyi were identified. HIV serology among GUD patients was 3.2%. Treponemal antibodies and Tzanck test positivity for genital herpes was detected in 25 (5.8%) and in 125 (30.3%) of GUD patients, respectively. In multivariable analysis genital herpes etiology by M-PCR was associated with the vesicular, multiple and recurrent lesions whereas T. pallidum with non-vesicular, non-recurrent lesions. Compared to M-PCR, syphilis serology was 27.8% sensitive and 96.2% specific whereas Tzanck test was 43.8% sensitive and 88.9% specific.


The predominance of genital herpes etiology suggests a revision of existing national syndromic treatment guidelines in Brazil to include antiherpetic treatment for all GUD patients. The use of M-PCR can significantly improve the diagnosis of GUD and provide a greater sensitivity than standard diagnostics.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Public Library of Science Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center