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The infection generally firsts presents itself as small red lesions or bumps that quite rapidly transform into "pustules" (fluid-filled blisters). These pustules then evolve towards small painful superficial ulcers (open wounds that vary between 3-20 mm in diameter). A grey membrane covers the surface of these ulcers. When this membrane is removed (quite easy to do), one exoses a « granular » tissue (new growth) that bleeds readily upon contact. In contrast with ulcers caused by syphilis, the ulcers secondary to Haemophilus ducreyi have an irregular contour that is not swollen and hard (indurated).
In 60% of individuals infected with chancroid, the inguinal lymph nodes (immune system centers in your groin) will swell up in the days to weeks subsequent to contact with the infection. Early on, these swollen nodes may be subtle yet painful. As the infection progresses, approximately 50% of locally affected nodes will become infected and develop into an abscess. The skin overlying these infected swollen nodes typically becomes red and may even break open allowing the abscess to drain.