[Gr. chlamys, cloak + ″]
A bacterial genus of intracellular parasites of the family Chlamydiaceae, comprising six species, of which C. pneumoniae and C. psittaci infect humans. The organisms are characterized as bacteria because of the composition of their cell walls and their reproduction by binary fission, but they reproduce only within cells. These species cause a variety of diseases.
A species of Chlamydophila that is an important cause of pneumonia, bronchitis, and sinusitis. It is believed to be transmitted from person to person by respiratory tract secretions, e.g., by airborne droplets. Most cases are mild and rarely require hospitalization. It is possible that this organism is a factor in the development of coronary artery disease.
Treatment consists of daily tetracycline, macrolide, or fluoroquinolone for 14 to 21 days.
A species of Chlamydophila common in birds and animals. Pet owners, pet shop employees, poultry workers, and workers in meat-processing plants are frequently exposed to C. psittaci.
After an incubation period of 5 to 15 days, nonspecific symptoms, e.g., malaise, headache, fever, develop; progression to pneumonia is serious and may be fatal. Alternatively, the disease may resemble infectious mononucleosis with fever, pharyngitis, hepatosplenomegaly, and adenopathy. Severity may vary from inapparent to mild to fatal systemic disease.
The fatality rate is approx. 20% in untreated patients.
Treatment consists of tetracycline or doxycycline for 10 to 21 days.