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  • Biphasic lifestyle is unique to Chlamydia
    • elementary bodies (infectious) infect hosts first
    • become reticulate bodies (non-infectious)
    • produce large inclusions in host cells and produce/release more elementary bodies
  • the large inclusions in host cells are useful (with specific strains) for light microscope diagnosis
  • energy parasites (deplete ATP stores)
  • Chlamydia and gonorrhea can both cause Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID)
  • Chlamydia is called the "silent tubal epidemic"
  • Usually, the cervix and uterus are protected by inflammatory responses and acids.
  • These responses are neutralised by semen, however, and it is theorized that Chlamydia and Gonorrhea ride the sperm up the fallopian tubes and can cause endocervicitis
  • Basically cannot be cultured due to its intracellular action


Chlamydia trachomatis


  1. A, B, C
    • cause trichoma
    • occurs in pre-industrial countries.
    • trichomas are fibrosis in the eyelid itself, leading to the number one infective cause of blindness.
  2. D to K
    • cause sexually transmitted disease
    • usually mild
    • found in developed countries
  3. L1, L2, L3

General Information

  • babies get infected due to direct exposure of their eyes when they pass through the birth canal
  • adults are infected through direct contact with the eye
  • males are also usually asymptomatic
  • Infection is asymptomatic otherwise, so people don't know they are infertile

Genital Infections

  • genital infectons in males - Groove sign very important
  • indication of lymphadenopathy in inguinal canal
  • also observe necrotic tissue and extensive ulceration

Chlamydia psittaci

  • Also see Chlamydia psittaci for more information
  • Birds + pneumonia - warning bells!
  • Headache symptom very important
  • for blood culture, must request special culture since bacteria is an obligate intracellular organism and need to grow in host cells
  • usually grown in virology labs
  • Routine cultures usually don't show chlamydia!

Chlamydia pneumoniae

  • causes acute RTIs and 10% of community acquired pneumonia