Chlamydia pneumoniae

This new chlamydial species (formerly TWAR chlamydiae) causes infections of the respiratory organs in humans that usually run a mild course: influenzalike infections, sinusitis, pharyngitis, bronchitis, pneumonias (atypical). Clinically silent infections are frequent. C. pneumoniae is pathogenic in humans only. The pathogen is transmitted by aerosol droplets. These infections are

probably among the most frequent human chlamydial infections. Serological studies have demonstrated antibodies to C. pneumoniae in 60% of adults. Specific laboratory diagnosis is difficult. Special laboratories can grow and identify the pathogen in cultures and detect it under the microscope using marked antibodies to the LPS (although this test is positive for all chlamydial infections). C. pneumoniae-specific antibodies can be identified with the microimmunofluorescence method. In a primary infection, a measurable titer does not develop for some weeks and is also quite low. The antibiotics of choice are tetracyclines or macrolides. There is a growing body of evidence supporting a causal contribution by C. pneumoniae to atherosclerotic plaque in the coronary arteries, and thus to the pathogenesis of coronary heart disease.

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