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  • Conditions InDepth: Chlamydia

    Chlamydia are bacteria, but they are not capable of surviving on their own. They can only grow inside other living cells, like viruses. Outside of living cells, chlamydia are dormant, like spores. In their dormant form, they can travel from one person or animal to another.
    There are several different species of chlamydia. A number of strains within each species are responsible for a variety of diseases in birds, humans, and other mammals. Their most common appearance is as a sexually transmitted genital infection referred to as chlamydia or nongonococcal urethritis (NGU).
    Chlamydia is one of the most common sexually transmitted infections (STI) in the US, especially among sexually active teens and young adults. Prevalence is highest in people 25 years old and younger.
    This strain also causes Reiter’s syndrome (arthritis, conjunctivitis , and urethritis ). It can also cause neonatal infections such as pneumonia or conjunctivitis (pink eye) when passed from an infected mother. It can also cause infections in the throat or anus through oral or anal intercourse.
    Other types of chlamydia can cause:
    • Another less common STD known as lymphogranuloma venereum (LGV)
    • An eye infection called trachoma or Egyptian ophthalmia that causes millions of cases of blindness in developing nations around the world.
    • Lung and upper respiratory infections

    Causes

    Genital chlamydial infections are caused when Chlamydia trachomatis is transmitted during oral, vaginal, or anal sex from an infected partner. Other forms of chlamydia can be transmitted by nonsexual contact, such as dirty hands, or other objects, as well as inhalation and childbirth.
    What are the risk factors for chlamydia?What are the symptoms of chlamydia?How is chlamydia diagnosed?What are the treatments for chlamydia?Are there screening tests for chlamydia?How can I reduce my risk of chlamydia?What questions should I ask my doctor?Where can I get more information about chlamydia?

    References

    British Association for Sexual Health and HIV guideline: 2006 UK national guideline for the management of genital tract infection with chlamydia trachomatis. London, England: British Association for Sexual health and HIV(BASHH); 2006

    Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Sexually Transmitted Diseases Treatment Guidelines, 2010. MMWR 2010;59(No. RR-12):1-110.

    Chlamydia fact sheet. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/std/chlamydia/STDFact-Chlamydia.htm . Updated Feburaray 8, 2012. Accessed October 6, 2012.

    Chlamydia genital infection. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed/what.php . Updated September 7, 2012. Accessed October 6, 2012.

    Chlamydia. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases website. Available at: http://www.niaid.nih.gov/topics/chlamydia/understanding/Pages/cause.aspx . Updated August 20, 2010. Accessed October 6, 2012.

    Chlamydia. National Women's Health Organization website. Available at: http://www.womenshealth.gov/publications/our-publications/fact-sheet/chlamydia.cfm . Updated July 8, 2011. Accessed October 6, 2012.

    Hollblad-Fadiman K, Goldman SM. American College of Preventive Medicine practice policy statement. Screening for chlamydia trachomatis. Am J Prev Med. 2003;24:287-292

    Miller KE. Diagnosis and treatment of chlamydia trachomatis infection. Am Fam Physician. 2006;73:1411-1416.

    Revision Information

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