Sexually Transmitted Diseases
Chlamydia trachomatis is the etiological agent of one of the most widespread sexually transmitted diseases in the Western world. It is the major cause of genital and urinary infection in men (nongonococcal urethritis, epididymitis) and an important cause of inflammation in women.
Genital chlamydial infection in males is often described as nongonococcal urethritis (NGU). Postgonococcal urethritis follows dual infection with Neisseria gonorrhoeae. Epididymitis is the major complication of chlamydial urethritis in men. The genital site most commonly affected in women is the cervix. Undetected chlamydial cervicitis can extend into the fallopian tubes causing salpingitis with consequent infertility. Chlamydia trachomatis has also been implicated in pelvic inflammatory disease, which includes inflammation of the cervix, uterus, fallopiantubes and ovaries.
During pregnancy, the diagnosis of Chlamydia trachomatis infection provides an explanation for the associated clinical signs as well as possible complications. This also leads to the prevention of vertical transmission of maternal infection to the fetus which may be severely harmed (inclusion conjunctivitis, pneumonia and other complications). Cell cultures are not generally indicated for large scale screening programs in medium/low risk populations for several reasons, such as sample handling, transportation, technical procedural difficulties, cost etc. Several studies have demonstrated that high titers of specific IgG and IgA anti-Chlamydia antibodies can be used as early markers of active Chlamydial infections without the need for invasive diagnostic techniques.