Chlamydia trachomatis infections of the female genital tract: state of the art

Ann Med. 2012 Feb;44(1):18-28. doi: 10.3109/07853890.2010.546365. Epub 2011 Feb 1.


Chlamydia trachomatis (CT) is the most common bacterial cause of sexually transmitted infections. CT infections are strongly associated with risk-taking behavior. Recommendations for testing have been implemented in many countries. The effectiveness of the screening programs has been questioned since chlamydia rates have increased. However, the complication rates including pelvic inflammatory disease, tubal factor infertility, and tubal pregnancy have been decreasing, which is good news. The complication rates associated with CT infection have clearly been over-estimated. Genetic predisposition and host immune response play important roles in the pathogenesis of long-term complications. CT plays a co-factor role in the development of cervical neoplasia caused by high-risk human papillomavirus (HPV) types. The evidence linking CT and other adverse pregnancy outcomes is weak. The current nucleic acid amplification tests perform well. A new genetic variant of CT was discovered in Sweden but has only rarely been detected elsewhere. Single-dose azithromycin remains effective against CT. Secondary prevention by screening is still the most important intervention to limit the adverse effects of CT on reproductive health.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Chlamydia Infections* / complications
  • Chlamydia Infections* / diagnosis
  • Chlamydia Infections* / epidemiology
  • Chlamydia Infections* / therapy
  • Chlamydia trachomatis* / immunology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Mass Screening
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications, Infectious / drug therapy*
  • Pregnancy Outcome
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / etiology*