Mammalian Chlamydiosis and its Treatment

What is chlamydiosis and what causes it ? Chlamydiosis (kla-mid-EE-o-sis) is caused by bacteria called Chla- mydophila (klam-id-o-fi-la) [previ- ously called Chlamydia]. This bacteria can cause respiratory disease, eye infections, and abortions in animals and sometimes humans.


  • Organism
  • History
  • Epidemiology
  • Transmission
  • Disease in Humans
  • Disease in Animals
  • Prevention and Control
  • The Organism
  • Chlamydiaceae
    • Obligate intracellular bacteria
    • Gram negative
  • Two forms
    • Infective elementary body
    • Metabolically active reticulate body
  • Species


  • Zoonotic
    • Chlamydophila abortus
    • Chlamydophila felis
    • Chlamydophila pneumoniae
  • Non-zoonotic
    • Chlamydia trachomatis
    • Chlamydophila caviae
    • Chlamydophila pecorum
    • Chlamydia suis
    • Chlamydia muridarum

Geographic Distribution

  • Worldwide
    • C. felis
    • C. pneumoniae
  • Most sheep-raising regions
    • C. abortus

Morbidity and Mortality: Humans

  • C. abortus, C. felis
    • Abortion rarely reported
  • C. pneumoniae
    • Not clearly zoonotic
    • Non-zoonotic form common in humans
      • Causes 10-15% of all cases of community-acquired pneumonia, bronchitis and sinusitis
  • C. abortus
    • Important cause of
      enzootic abortion
      • Sheep: up to 30% affected
      • Goats: 60-90% affected
    • Cyclic pattern in                                            endemic herds
  • C. felis
    • Infections common in cats
      • Conjunctivitis in kittens

Life Cycle

  • Elementary body (EB)
    • Small, metabolically inert
    • Stable in the environment
  • Taken up by host cells
  • Transforms in to reticulate body (RB)
    • Metabolically active
    • Divide and differentiate into EB
  • EB released from cell

Transmission in Humans

  • Ingestion
  • Aerosol
  • Direct inoculation (eye)
  • Venereal (possibly)

Transmission in Animals

  • C. abortus
    • Shed in placenta, uterine discharges, other abortion products
    • Ingestion, aerosol, venereal
  • C. felis
    • Shed in ocular
      and nasal secretions
  • C. pneumoniae
    • Unknown

C. abortus
in Humans

  • Initial signs nonspecific
    • Influenza-like illness
  • Abortion
    • 14th-36th week of pregnancy
  • Other clinical manifestations
    • Septicemia, hepatitis, kidney dysfunction, pneumonia, DIC

C. pneumoniae
in Humans

  • Zoonotic exposure not linked to    any cases of human disease
  • Symptoms likely
    • Fever
    • Non-productive cough
    • Sinusitis, pneumonia, bronchitis
    • Arthritis
    • Ocular disease
    • Genital and skin infection


  • Difficult to diagnose
    • No gold standard tests
  • Serology
    • Immunofluorescence
    • PCR
      • Usually designed to                                               detect C. trachomatis
  • Culture


  • Antibiotics
    • Tetracycline
    • Erythromycin
    • Quinoloes

Prevention in  Humans

  • Pregnant women
    • Avoid contact with
      pregnant or aborting
    • Consider avoiding
      contact with all
      sheep and goats
  • Good hygiene

Prevention in Animals

  • Use disease-free replacement stock
  • Isolate sick animals
  • Practice good hygiene
    • Wash hands
    • Footwear
  • Clean and disinfect                                infected premises
  • Vaccinate
  • For more details click here


  • Quaternary ammonium compounds
    • 1:1,000 dilution
  • 1% sodium hypochlorite
  • 70% ethanol
  • Glutaraldehyde
  • Formaldehyde
  • Moist heat (121°C for 15 minutes)
  • Dry heat (160-170°C for 1 hour)

16 thoughts on “<strong>Mammalian Chlamydiosis and its Treatment</strong>”

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