Recognition and Treatment of Chlamydial Infections from Birth to Adolescence

  • Toni DarvilleEmail author
Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (AEMB, volume 764)


The “silent epidemic” of Chlamydia trachomatis threatens to cause reproductive damage and infertility in many of the 50 million women who acquire it each year. Female reproductive tract infection has more recently been linked to stillbirth and premature delivery. Innate immune cells and mediators appear to be the primary players in pathogenesis, with neutrophils playing a prominent role in disease development. Although adaptive antibody and CD4 T cell responses appear primarily protective, these responses are inefficient. Infections are frequently chronic as a result, and when infection is diagnosed and treated with appropriate antibiotics, repeated infection is the rule. The lack of acute symptoms in many infected individuals contributes to the high prevalence of chlamydial infection. Although chronic sequelae are relatively rare in men, and many women sustain infection without developing pelvic inflammatory disease or chronic sequelae, the extremely high prevalence of chlamydial infection leads to significant morbidity and healthcare costs. A vaccine is urgently needed to prevent infection, but given the difficulties of inducing a CD4 T cell memory response that can home quickly to the genital tract, induction of sterilizing immunity may not be possible. A vaccine that prevents disease by lowering bacterial burden and dampening production of tissue-damaging responses may be possible. Until an efficacious vaccine is developed, screening and treatment programs appear to be the best method of disease prevention.


Ectopic Pregnancy Bacterial Vaginosis Chlamydia Trachomatis Pelvic Inflammatory Disease Chronic Pelvic Pain 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



Toni Darville is supported by United States National Institutes of Health grants (AI054624 and U19 AI084024).


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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Division of Pediatric Infectious Diseases, College of MedicineUniversity of Pittsburgh Medical CenterPittsburghUSA

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