Chlamydia trachomatis and C. psittaci

Chlamydia trachomatis and C. psittaci is a topic covered in the Harrison's Manual of Medicine.

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  • Chlamydiae are obligate intracellular bacteria, possess both DNA and RNA (a characteristic that distinguishes them from viruses), and have a cell wall similar to that of gram-negative bacteria.
  • These organisms have a complex reproductive cycle and exist in two forms.
    • The elementary body (the infective form) is adapted for extracellular survival, while the reticulate body is adapted for intracellular survival and multiplication.
    • Within 18–24 h after infection of the cell, reticulate bodies have replicated and begin to condense into elementary bodies that are released to infect other cells or people.
  • Three chlamydial species infect humans: Chlamydia trachomatis, C. psittaci, and C. pneumoniae.
    • CF tests and enzyme immunoassays that detect lipopolysaccharide identify chlamydiae only to the genus level.
    • The microimmunofluorescence (MIF) test can differentiate among the three species.
    • For a discussion of C. pneumoniae, see Chap. 97.

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