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In the female, infections with several serovars of Chlamydia trachomatis lead to cervicitis and urethritis as the primary sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).
Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID) and Tubal Factor Infertility (TFI) are major complications of genital Chlamydia infection.
The reproduction of the organism is obligate intracellular, relying on the host’s cell components for nourishment. Serovars allow organisms to be classified at the sub-species level.
They show Gram negative staining in histological specimens. Ocular infection is caused by the distinct serovar of Chlamydia trachomatis that causes Trachoma (the most common preventable blinding tropical disease).
Additional infections with different serovars, the role of stress, age of the individual at the time of infection and many other factors are postulated but the details are unclear.
Unfortunately, recently it became clear that Chlamydia could develop immune evasive mechanisms and produce immune-pathogenic Chlamydia antigens.
Several generations can live with the bacterium and to a certain extent inherit protecting antibodies. Whether stigmata of the infection surfaces in one or the other individual in subsequent generations or any pregnancies complicated are multifaceted issues. Surface antigens can change and thus evade recognition by T lymphocytes.
Such cases can lead to Chlamydia latency or persistence, inadequate chronic host reaction and tissue damage.
Anti-Chlamydia immunity is established primarily by a T lymphocyte response (CD4 and CD8 Th1) and their established long-term presence in local mucosa at the site of infection.The female genital tract presents special situation.In vertically or horizontally infected individuals Chlamydia trachomatis may reside in the vaginal canal without symptoms until puberty or until sexual activity begins.The elementary body is the highly infectious form of Chlamydia.
Both specific blood borne and T lymphocytes (thymus derived lymphocytes) cell-mediated immune responses are elicited following Chlamydia infection.
Nasopharyngeal, genital, and anal mucosal surfaces are the most important entry sites for the elementary bodies.