Chlamydiae as pathogens: new species and new issues

Emerg Infect Dis. 1996 Oct-Dec;2(4):307-19. doi: 10.3201/eid0204.960406.


The recognition of genital chlamydial infection as an important public health problem was made first by the recognition of its role in acute clinical syndromes, as well as in serious reproductive and ocular complications, and secondly by our awareness of its prevalence when diagnostic tests became widely accessible. The recent availability of effective single dose oral antimicrobial therapy and sensitive molecular amplification tests that allow the use of noninvasive specimens for diagnosis and screening is expected to have a major impact in reducing the prevalence of disease in the next decade. Clinical manifestations associated with Chlamydia pneumoniae infection continue to emerge beyond respiratory illness. In particular, its association with atherosclerosis deserves further investigation. Chlamydia pecorum, a pathogen of ruminants, was recently recognized as a new species. The continued application of molecular techniques will likely elucidate an expanding role for chlamydiae in human and animal diseases, delineate the phylogenetic relationships among chlamydial species and within the eubacteria domain, and provide tools for detection and control of chlamydial infections.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / therapeutic use
  • Arteriosclerosis / microbiology
  • Asthma / microbiology
  • Azithromycin / therapeutic use
  • Bacterial Outer Membrane Proteins / genetics
  • Bacterial Outer Membrane Proteins / immunology
  • Chlamydia Infections / diagnosis
  • Chlamydia Infections / drug therapy
  • Chlamydia Infections / epidemiology
  • Chlamydia Infections / microbiology*
  • Chlamydia trachomatis / genetics
  • Chlamydia trachomatis / immunology
  • Chlamydia trachomatis / pathogenicity*
  • Chlamydophila pneumoniae / pathogenicity*
  • Chlamydophila psittaci / pathogenicity*
  • Clarithromycin / therapeutic use
  • Host-Parasite Interactions / genetics
  • Humans
  • Polymorphism, Genetic
  • Psittacosis / diagnosis
  • Psittacosis / drug therapy
  • Psittacosis / epidemiology
  • Psittacosis / microbiology*
  • Tetracycline / therapeutic use


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Bacterial Outer Membrane Proteins
  • Azithromycin
  • Tetracycline
  • Clarithromycin