Chlamydia transmission: concurrency, reproduction number, and the epidemic trajectory

Am J Epidemiol. 1999 Dec 15;150(12):1331-9. doi: 10.1093/oxfordjournals.aje.a009965.


To identify factors that influence individual and group transmission of Chlamydia, the authors conducted community-wide contact tracing of chlamydia cases in Colorado Springs, Colorado, from mid-1996 to mid-1997. Case patients identified persons with whom they had had contact during the 6 months preceding diagnosis; contacts were actively sought and offered DNA amplification testing. Sexual contact networks were used to identify "source cases" and "spread cases," permitting estimation of the basic reproduction number (R0) for individuals and groups. Network and epidemiologic factors influencing R0 were assessed using univariate and multivariate procedures. Of 1,309 case patients, 1,131 (86%) were interviewed, and 2,409 contacts were identified. The 1,131 interviewed cases yielded 623.9 computed spread cases, for an overall R0 of 0.55. Few subgroups analyzed yielded a mean R0 exceeding unity-an observation in keeping with routine surveillance information which suggests that chlamydia incidence is declining in Colorado Springs. Concurrency, a network measure of simultaneous partnerships, was the most powerful predictor of transmission. Direct estimation of basic reproduction numbers for chlamydia using contact tracing techniques is feasible and can produce useful data with which to prioritize control efforts, evaluate interventions, and gauge the place of chlamydia on the epidemic continuum.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Chlamydia Infections / epidemiology
  • Chlamydia Infections / transmission*
  • Colorado / epidemiology
  • Communicable Disease Control
  • Disease Outbreaks*
  • Epidemiologic Methods
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Reproduction
  • Sexually Transmitted Diseases / epidemiology
  • Sexually Transmitted Diseases / transmission*