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Aust Vet J. 2004 Nov;82(11):695-6.

Is Chlamydophila felis a significant zoonotic pathogen?

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  • 1Faculty of Veterinary Science, The University of Melbourne, Parkville, Victoria.



Chlamydophila felis is a common cause of conjunctivitis in cats and in some textbooks is listed as an important zoonotic pathogen. However, there are no published comprehensive reviews assessing the evidence supporting this. SEARCH AND ANALYSIS: Bibliographic databases and bibliographies of papers and textbooks were searched for all published cases of zoonotic disease associated with chlamydiosis in cats. All published case reports were reviewed to establish the quality of the evidence supporting the association between C. felis and zoonotic disease.


There are only seven case reports, most of which were published before the development of assays capable of distinguishing C. felis from other chlamydial species, implicating this organism in zoonotic disease. None of the three cases of pneumonia and systemic disease described, two of which occurred in immunocompromised patients, can be unambiguously attributed to C. felis. Of the four cases of follicular keratoconjunctivitis described, only one, in an immunocompromised patient, could be unambiguously attributed to C. felis.


While there is evidence that C. felis may occasionally cause keratoconjunctivitis in humans, there is little evidence to suggest it can cause serious systemic disease or pneumonia.

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