chlamydia

/kleuh mid"ee euh/, n., pl. chlamydiae /-mid"ee ee'/.
1. Microbiol. any coccoid rickettsia of the genus Chlamydia, parasitic in birds and mammals, including humans, and causing various infections, esp. of the eyes, as trachoma, lungs, as psittacosis, and genitourinary tract, as urethritis or chlamydia.
2. Pathol. Also called lymphogranuloma venereum. a widespread, often asymptomatic sexually transmitted disease caused by Chlamydia trachomatis, a major cause of nongonococcal urethritis in men and pelvic inflammatory disease and ectopic pregnancy in women.
[1945; < NL < Gk chlamyd-, s. of chlamýs CHLAMYS + NL -ia -IA]

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Any of the bacterial parasites that make up the genus Chlamydia, which cause several diseases in humans, including conjunctivitis and chlamydial pneumonia.

One form causes a variety of sexually transmitted diseases. In men, symptoms are similar to those of gonorrhea. In women, chlamydial infection ordinarily produces few, if any, symptoms, and most infected women thus are unaware of their condition. However, untreated infections in women can lead to sterility, a higher risk of premature births, and ectopic pregnancies. Chlamydia frequently causes conjunctivitis or pneumonia in the newborn infant. Treatment is with antibiotics.

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      a genus of bacterial parasites that cause several different diseases in humans. The genus is composed of three species: C. psittaci, which causes psittacosis (q.v.); C. trachomatis, various strains of which cause trachoma, lymphogranuloma venereum, and conjunctivitis (qq.v.); and C. pneumoniae, which causes respiratory-tract infections.

      C. trachomatis also causes a variety of sexually transmitted diseases, chiefly nongonococcal urethritis (infection of the urethra) in males and females and epididymitis (infection of the epididymus) in males. In men, nongonococcal urethritis has symptoms similar to those of gonorrhea. A gonorrhea-like discharge from the penis is the most prominent symptom. Painful urination may occur but is usually less prominent than with gonorrhea. The symptoms of nongonococcal urethritis appear one to four weeks after the infection has been contracted through sexual intercourse.

      A chlamydial infection ordinarily produces few if any symptoms in women. There may be a slight vaginal discharge and pelvic pain. If untreated, however, C. trachomatis can seriously infect the cervix (causing cervicitis), the urethra (causing urethritis), or the fallopian tubes (causing salpingitis), and it can also cause pelvic inflammatory disease. Infection of the fallopian tubes can cause sterility, and a chlamydial infection also leads to a higher risk of premature births, ectopic pregnancies, and postpartum infections. A woman with an infected cervix may give birth to infected newborns who can develop pneumonia or the eye disease known as neonatal conjuctivitis.

      C. pneumoniae was identified as a separate Chlamydia species in the 1980s. It causes various respiratory-tract infections, most commonly a mild, atypical pneumonia with symptoms of fever, cough, and sore throat.

      In diagnosis it is important to eliminate gonorrhea as a cause for the symptoms. Specific tests for chlamydia include smears and cultures. The preferred treatment for chlamydial infections is tetracycline. Erythromycin and sulfonamide drugs have also been effective in treating the infections. Appropriate treatment produces a speedy recovery.

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Universalium. 2010.

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