Chlamydia trachomatis is the strain that causes the sexually transmitted infection (STI) that most people are familiar with.
Chlamydia is the most common STI in the U.S. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there were 1,441,789 chlamydia cases reported from 50 U.S. states, as well as the District of Columbia, in 2014 alone.
Young people aged 15 to 24 years old accounted for about two-thirds of these cases, and it’s said that 1 in 20 sexually active young women of the same age group already have chlamydia.1
Chlamydia trachomatis can be passed from one person to another via unprotected sexual intercourse (whether vaginal, anal or oral sex) or by touching the genitals of an infected person.2
Both women and men can be infected with this chlamydia strain, and symptoms are felt in the reproductive organs (the penis or the vagina) and even in the rectum. Chlamydia patients also feel a burning sensation while urinating.3
If left untreated, sexually transmitted chlamydia can result in epididymitis (pain and inflammation in the epididymis) or the spread of the infection to the prostate gland, triggering fevers, painful intercourse and lower back pain.
Women are prone to pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) and an increased risk of infertility and ectopic pregnancy.4 Meanwhile, pregnant women with chlamydia can put their newborns at risk of eye infections and pneumonia.5
Another chlamydia strain that can negatively affect you is Chlamydia pneumoniae, causing bacterial pneumonia.6 The CDC estimates that there are 2 to 5 million cases of pneumonia and 500,000 pneumonia-related hospitalizations per year, but the overall incidence for pneumonia Chlamydia pneumoniae specifically is unknown.
Nevertheless, it’s an infection that’s quite common, as the CDC highlights that around 50 percent of adults have already been infected with this bacteria strain by the age of 20.
The illness is most common in school-age children, but it should be noted that all ages are at risk for infection.7 Chlamydia pneumoniae infection can be easily transferred from one person to another via coughing, sneezing or touching infected objects in areas such as military barracks, college dorms, care facilities or prisons.
Aside from pneumonia, people who are infected with the bacteria strain may also develop bronchitis, gradual cough or even pharyngitis, laryngitis and sinusitis.8 Older adults have more severe disease/s and recurring infections.9
The Chlamydia psittaci strain is another chlamydia strain that can lead to a rare condition called psittacosis known as "parrot fever."10 The CDC reports that since 1996, less than 50 cases occur per year in the U.S., however, some instances may have been unreported or undiagnosed.11
Humans usually get parrot fever from parrots (as the name implies) and other birds such as chickens, turkey, pigeons, and ducks when they handle the bird, breathe fine particles of the bird’s urine, feces, or other body excretions, touch their mouth to the bird’s beak, and/or get bitten by a bird.12 According to Healthline, the usual signs of parrot fever are:13
- Fever and chills
- Nausea and vomiting
- Muscle, joint, and chest pain
- Weakness and fatigue
- Dry cough
- Shortness of breath
- Intolerance to light