All About Chlamydia

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The household Chlamydiaceae consists of 1 genus Chlamydia with three species that trigger human illness:

— C. trachomatis, which might trigger urogenital infections, trachoma, conjunctivitis, pneumonia and lymphogranuloma venereum (LGV)

— C. pneumoniae, which might trigger bronchitis, sinusitis, pneumonia and presumably atherosclerosis

— C. psittaci, which might trigger pneumonia (psittacosis)

Chlamydia are small obligate intracellular parasites and have been as soon as thought of to be viruses. Nevertheless, they comprise DNA, RNA and ribosomes and make their very own proteins and nucleic acids and at the moment are thought of to be true micro organism. They possess an internal and outer membrane related gram-negative micro organism and a lipopolysaccharide however shouldn’t have a peptidoglycan layer. Though they synthesize most of their metabolic intermediates, they’re unable to make their very own ATP and thus are vitality parasites.

All Three chlamydia species have the flexibility to trigger pneumoniae. Due to this fact, contaminated hosts will check constructive for sexually transmitted disease chlamydia with exception of chlamydia pneumoniae. Hosts which might be contaminated with chlamydia pneumoniae will almost definitely check detrimental for the sexually transmitted illness chlamydia trachomatis, because the micro organism is confined to solely the lungs and is acquired by way of neighborhood contact. Nevertheless, as soon as the chlamydia pneumoniae micro organism is launched to the genitals by the carrying host, it’s going to turn into chlamydia trachomatis. The host carrying C. pneumoniae might cross on the micro organism by way of oral intercourse which inside three weeks developes into chlamydia trachomatis. Chlamydia pneumoniae on common might take as much as three weeks earlier than any signs are observed. The host carrying chlamydia pheumoniae will check detrimental for chlamydia trachomatis because the chlamydia micro organism is just within the lungs, however the contaminated accomplice will check constructive for chlamydia trachomatis in about three weeks. Afterwhich, if each companions proceed to have unsafe intercourse, each will check constructive for chlamydia trachomatis and chlamydia pneumoniae.

In 2006 The American Academy of Pediatrics revealed that almost 53,000 youngsters underneath the age of 15 have been reported to be contaminated with chlamydia pneumoniae. Majority of this quantity comes from states which might be excessive in inhabitants which come from South America and the Caribbean. In 2007 there have been over 300,000 new reported instances of chlamydia pneumoniae in the USA. In line with the American Medical Association , practically 50,000 chlamydia trachomatis infections are a direct results of chlamydia pneumoniae.

Causes and signs

Chlamydia trachomatis is a significant reason behind sexually transmitted ailments (referred to as nongonococcal urethritis and pelvic inflammatory disease). When a lady with an lively chlamydial an infection provides beginning to a child, the child might aspirate (suck into his or her lungs) a few of the mom’s bacteria-laden secretions whereas passing by way of the beginning canal. This will trigger a type of comparatively gentle pneumonia within the new child, occurring about two to 6 weeks after supply.

Chlamydia psittaci is a micro organism carried by many sorts of birds, together with pigeons, canaries, parakeets, parrots, and a few gulls. People purchase the micro organism by way of contact with mud from fowl feathers, fowl droppings, or from the chunk of a fowl carrying the micro organism. Individuals who preserve birds as pets or who work the place birds are saved have the best threat for this sort of pneumonia. This pneumonia, referred to as psittacosis, causes fever, cough, and the manufacturing of sputum containing pus. The sort of pneumonia could also be fairly extreme, and is often extra severe in older sufferers. The sickness can final a number of weeks.

Chlamydia pneumoniae often causes a kind of comparatively gentle “strolling pneumonia.” Sufferers expertise fever and cough often three weeks after the an infection. The sort of pneumonia known as a “community-acquired pneumonia” as a result of it’s simply handed from one member of the neighborhood to a different.


Laboratory exams indicating the presence of one of many strains of Chlamydia are refined, costly, and carried out in only some laboratories throughout the nation. For that reason, docs diagnose most instances of chlamydial pneumonia by performing a bodily examination of the affected person, and noting the presence of sure elements. For example, if the mom of a child sick with pneumonia is constructive for a sexually transmitted illness attributable to Chlamydia trachomatis, the analysis is apparent. Historical past of publicity to birds in a affected person sick with pneumonia means that Chlamydia psittaci often is the perpetrator. A light to generally extreme pneumonia in an in any other case wholesome individual is more likely to be a community-acquired strolling pneumonia, similar to that attributable to Chlamydia pneumoniae.


Therapy varies relying on the precise sort of Chlamydia inflicting the an infection. A new child with Chlamydia trachomatis improves quickly with erythromycin. Chlamydia psittaci an infection is handled with tetracycline, mattress relaxation, oxygen supplementation, and codeine-containing cough preparations. Chlamydia pneumoniae an infection is handled with erythromycin and is absolutely cured inside two weeks of therapy.


The prognosis is usually glorious for the new child with Chlamydia trachomatis pneumonia. Chlamydia psittaci might linger, and extreme instances have a demise price of as excessive as 30%. The aged are hardest hit by this sort of pneumonia. A younger, wholesome individual with Chlamydia pneumoniae has a wonderful prognosis. Within the aged, nonetheless, there’s a 5-10% demise price from this an infection.


Prevention of Chlamydia trachomatis pneumonia entails recognizing the signs of genital an infection within the mom and treating her previous to supply of her child.

Chlamydia psittaci will be prevented by warning individuals who have birds as pets, or who work round birds, to watch out to keep away from contact with the mud and droppings of those birds. Sick birds will be handled with an antibiotic of their feed. As a result of individuals can contract psittacosis from one another, an individual sick with this an infection must be saved in isolation, in order to not infect different individuals.

Chlamydia pneumoniae is tough to forestall as a result of it’s unfold by respiratory droplets from different sick individuals. As a result of individuals with this sort of pneumonia don’t all the time really feel very sick, they usually proceed to attend faculty, go to work, and go to different public locations. They then unfold the micro organism within the tiny droplets which might be launched into the air throughout coughing. Due to this fact, this pneumoniae could be very tough to forestall and sometimes happens in outbreaks inside communities. Moreover, individuals with this sort of pneumoniae usually cross the micro organism to different individuals by way of oral intercourse which in flip develops into chlamydia trachomatis.


— Drew, W. Lawrence. “Chlamydia.” Sherris Medical Microbiology: An Introduction to Infectious Illnesses. third ed. Ed. Kenneth J. Ryan. Norwalk, CT: Appleton & Lange, 1994.
— Stoffman, Phyllis. The Household Information to Stopping and Treating 100 Infectious Illnesses. New York: John Wiley & Sons, 1995.

Dalhoff, Klaus, and Matthias Maass. “Chlamydia Pneumoniae Pneumonia in Hospitalized Sufferers: Medical Traits and Prognosis.” Chest 110, no. 2 (Aug. 1996): 351+.

American Social Well being Affiliation

The American Social Well being Affiliation is a trusted, non-profit group that has advocated on behalf of sufferers to assist enhance public well being outcomes since 1914. We’re America’s authority for sexually transmitted illness info.

Written by – Brian Cohan MD

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