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Med Monatsschr Pharm. 2012 Jun;35(6):209-22; quiz 223-4.

[Infections with Chlamydia trachomatis].

[Article in German]

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Institut für Medizinische Mikrobiologie, Immunologie und Parasitologie, Abteilung Pharmazeutische Mikrobiologie, Universität Bonn, Meckenheimer Allee 168, 53115 Bonn.


The gram-negative obligate intracellular bacterium Chlamydia trachomatis is the pathogen that is most often transmitted through sexual contact. C. trachomatis is responsible for a wide range of different diseases. Strains of serovars D to K primarily cause urogenital infections, which are often asymptomatic, but can also lead to uncomplicated and complicated genital diseases. Pelvic inflammatory diseases attributed to ascending genital infections can result in ectopic pregnancies and infertility in women. After perinatal transmission, infections in the newborn can also occur. Strains of serovars L1, L2 and L3 cause lymphogranuloma venereum, a common sexually transmitted disease in many tropical and subtropical regions. The illness is associated with various skin lesions and systemic symptoms such as fever and headache. Unlike other serovars, strains of serovar A, B and C are transmitted primarily by infectious eye discharge. They cause a chronic eye disease called trachoma that occurs under poor hygienic conditions. Infections with C. trachomatis should be treated with antibacterial drugs reaching high intracellular concentrations. The choice of antibiotics and duration of treatment depend on the indication. In general, intracellular acting agents such as doxycycline, macrolides like azithromycin and erythromycin and certain quinolones (i.e. levofloxacin and ofloxacin) are applied for specific therapy of C. trachomatis infections. During pregnancy, application of macrolides or aminopenicillins has been recommended for most indications. Because of the serious potential consequences of urogenital C. trachomatis infection in women, many industrialized countries offer a C. trachomatis screening. For the elimination of trachoma, which is envisaged by the World Health Organization for the year 2020, the so-called SAFE strategy is used. This strategy includes therapeutic and hygienic measures that may be suitable to eliminate one of the leading causes of blindness worldwide.

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