Molecular testing for Chlamydia is used for the rapid and highly accurate laboratory diagnosis of all infections caused by these microorganisms.
This analysis detects the presence of all pathogenic Chlamydia (Chlamydia trachomatis, Chlamydophila pneumoniae, and Chlamydophila psittaci), but without separating them.
Members of the Chlamydiaceae family are small, non-motile, Gram-negative, obligate intracellular organisms that grow in the host cell cytoplasm. Two genera of chlamydia are of clinical importance for humans, the genus Chlamydia which includes the species Chlamydia trachomatis, and the genus Chlamydophila which includes the species Chlamydophila pneumoniae and Chlamydophila psittaci. These organisms have many features in common with microbes and are susceptible to antibiotic treatment and also resemble viruses, requiring living cells to proliferate.
The life cycle of chlamydia can be divided into two distinct phases: an extracellular phase, in which they do not proliferate and are infectious, and a mandatory intracellular phase, during which they multiply and are non-infectious. The infectious forms, or elementary bodies, adhere to the cell membrane and enter the cell through a phagosome. Upon entry into the cells, the elemental bodies are reorganized into reticulate bodies (forming inclusions) and their proliferation begins. After 18 to 24 hours, the reticulate bodies condense to form elementary bodies. These new elementary bodies are released, starting a new cycle of infection.
Chlamydophila pneumoniae (formerly known as Chlamydia pneumoniae) causes respiratory infections with a mild course. Chlamydophila pneumoniae is a pathogen exclusive to humans and is transmitted by droplets. They can cause influenza, sinusitis, pharyngitis, bronchitis, and atypical pneumonia. Clinically, asymptomatic infections are common. Respiratory infections are probably the most common of all chlamydial infections. Chlamydophila pneumoniae is responsible for about 10% of pneumonia cases.
Chlamydia trachomatis are pathogenic microorganisms that affect exclusively humans. They cause the following diseases:
- Trachoma: It is a follicular conjunctivitis. The disease occurs in all climates, although it is more common in warmer and less developed countries. It is estimated that 400 million people suffer from chronic infection (they are carriers) and that it has caused blindness in 6 million. The microorganisms are transmitted directly and indirectly through everyday objects. If left untreated, the initial acute inflammation can turn to chronic, lasting months or even years, leading to scarring of the cornea which can then lead to blindness.
- Inclusion conjunctivitis: It is an acute, purulent conjunctivitis that can affect newborns, children, and adults (pool conjunctivitis). Newborns are infected at birth by the pathogenic microorganisms present in the cervix. If left untreated, it can progress like trachoma, scarring the cornea.
- Urogenital infections: Chlamydia trachomatis is responsible for 30-60% of non-gonococcal urethritis (NGU) cases in men. Microorganisms are transmitted by sexual intercourse. Possible complications of the disease in men include prostatitis and epididymitis. In women, Chlamydia trachomatis can cause cervicitis, urethritis, proctitis, endometritis, salpingitis, etc. Massive perinatal infection of the newborn can lead to interstitial chlamydial pneumonia.
- Lymphogranuloma venereum: This venereal disease is often found in warm climatic zones. Initially, a herpetic-like lesion is created at the point of invasion of the microorganisms in the genital area, which then turns into an ulcer, with accompanying lymphadenitis.
Chlamydophila psittaci (formerly called Chlamydia psittaci) is the causative agent of psittacosis, a disease characterized by pneumonia, headache, and hepatosplenomegaly. The infection is transmitted by infected birds through their excretions, mainly through the faeces. Laboratory blood tests in patients usually show leukopenia, thrombocytopenia, and elevated liver enzymes.
Laboratory test results are the most important parameter for the diagnosis and monitoring of all pathological conditions. 70%-80% of diagnostic decisions are based on laboratory tests. The correct interpretation of laboratory results allows a doctor to distinguish "healthy" from "diseased".
Laboratory test results should not be interpreted from the numerical result of a single analysis. Test results should be interpreted in relation to each individual case and family history, clinical findings, and the results of other laboratory tests and information. Your personal physician should explain the importance of your test results.
At Diagnostiki Athinon we answer any questions you may have about the test you perform in our laboratory and we contact your doctor to get the best possible medical care.