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chlamydia trachomatis (serotypes D,E,F,G,H,I,J,K)

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Chlamydia trachomatis is a Gram-negative obligate intracellular organism. Genital chlamydial infection is the commonest sexually transmitted bacterial infection in the UK (1).

One half of the infected men and around 70% of infected women are asymptomatic (2). Two third of the sexual partners of chlamydia-positive individuals are also positive for chlamydia infections (1).

The serotypes D-K may be acquired in neonates from the birth canal, giving rise to inclusion conjunctivitis.

In adults, infection is acquired by sexual contact causing:

  • in men:
    • urethritis
    • epididymitis
    • proctitis
    • arthritis

  • in women:
    • cervicitis
    • urethritis
    • pelvic inflammatory disease
    • arthritis

In women, up to half of all cases of cervicitis and 60% of all pelvic inflammatory disease may be caused by this organism. Ectopic pregnancy and tubal infertility are possible complications of genital chlamydia infection in women (2).

In tissue culture assays, the most active drugs against C. trachomatis are tetracyclines, followed by macrolides, sulphonamides, some quinolones and clindamycin (3).