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FEMS Immunol Med Microbiol. 2012 Apr;64(3):364-73. doi: 10.1111/j.1574-695X.2011.00919.x. Epub 2012 Jan 3.

Amoebal host range, host-free survival and disinfection susceptibility of environmental Chlamydiae as compared to Chlamydia trachomatis.

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STERIS SA R&D, Fontenay-aux-Roses, France.


The term 'Chlamydia-like organisms' encompasses obligate intracellular bacterial species phylogenetically close to Chlamydiaceae. Most are associated with free-living amoebae, and several could be responsible for respiratory tract infections and abortion in human and animals. Despite increasing concern about their pathogenic role, the prevalence, biodiversity and ecology of Chlamydia-related bacteria still remain largely unknown. In this study, six members of the Chlamydiales were tested, including Parachlamydia acanthamoebae (two different strains), Protochlamydia naegleriophila, Waddlia chondrophila, Criblamydia sequanensis and Chlamydia trachomatis as a reference. Intracellular growth was tested in 11 different Acanthamoeba strains, demonstrating significant differences in host susceptibilities to infection depending on strains investigated. Survival of host-free bacteria in suspension or dried onto surfaces was also explored, demonstrating that Chlamydia-like organisms present better survival capacity than C. trachomatis. Longer survival times were observed for bacteria suspended in rich culture medium, with survivors being detected after 10 weeks incubation. We also tested susceptibility of host-free Chlamydia-like organisms to several disinfection treatments. Each chemical biocide tested reduced viability of host-free Chlamydia by more than 4 logs. Conversely, all Chlamydia-like organisms tested resisted exposure at 55 °C for 10 min, while C. trachomatis was completely inactivated.

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