Introduction: Chlamydiae are obligate intracellular bacterial pathogens whose entry into mucosal epithelial cells is required for intracellular survival and subsequent growth. The life cycle of Chlamydia spp. and the ability to cause persistent, often subclinical infection, has major ramifications for diagnosis and treatment of C. trachomatis and C. pneumoniae infections in humans.
Areas covered: This up-to-date review describes the current state of knowledge of antimicrobial susceptibilities and treatment of genital infections due to C. trachomatis and respiratory infections due to C. pneumoniae.
Expert opinion: Chlamydiae are susceptible to antibiotics that interfere with DNA and protein synthesis, including tetracyclines, macrolides and quinolones, which are the compounds that have been most extensively studied and used for treatment of human infection. Treatment of individuals with C. trachomatis genital infection prevents sexual transmission and complications, including pelvic inflammatory disease. Treatment of pregnant women will prevent the transmission of infection to infants during delivery. The benefits of treatment of respiratory infections due to C. pneumoniae are more difficult to assess, primarily because of the lack of FDA-approved, specific diagnostic tests for detection of the organism in clinical samples. The majority of published studies have relied on serology for diagnosis, making it difficult to assess microbiologic efficacy.