An unusual cause of sepsis during pregnancy: recognizing infection with chlamydophila abortus

Obstet Gynecol. 2005 Nov;106(5 Pt 2):1215-7. doi: 10.1097/01.AOG.0000161060.69470.9c.


Background: Chlamydophila abortus (formerly Chlamydia psittaci serovar 1) is a rare but severe cause of gestational septicemia, with particular problems in diagnosis and clinical management.

Case: A 32-year-old woman in her fourth pregnancy (16th week of gestation) presented with progressive septicemia after extensive contact with abortive material from her goat flock. Treatment with levofloxacin could not prevent abortion. Multiorgan failure requiring catecholamines and artificial ventilation developed in the patient. After the agent was identified by polymerase chain reaction from acute-phase serum, macrolides were administered and yielded clinical improvement. The patient fully recovered. There were no sequelae in the subsequent 6 months.

Conclusion: Cp abortus must be considered in gestational septicemia after contact with ruminants. Polymerase chain reaction from acute-phase serum is a quick and easy way to establish the diagnosis. Macrolide antibiotics are still the treatment of choice.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Abortion, Spontaneous / microbiology*
  • Adult
  • Animals
  • Chlamydophila psittaci / isolation & purification
  • Chlamydophila psittaci / pathogenicity
  • Female
  • Goat Diseases / microbiology*
  • Goat Diseases / transmission
  • Goats
  • Humans
  • Levofloxacin
  • Macrolides / therapeutic use
  • Ofloxacin / therapeutic use
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications, Infectious / diagnosis
  • Pregnancy Complications, Infectious / drug therapy
  • Pregnancy Complications, Infectious / microbiology*
  • Psittacosis / complications*
  • Psittacosis / diagnosis
  • Psittacosis / drug therapy
  • Psittacosis / microbiology
  • Risk Factors
  • Sepsis / complications*
  • Sepsis / diagnosis
  • Sepsis / drug therapy
  • Zoonoses*


  • Macrolides
  • Levofloxacin
  • Ofloxacin