Chlamydia trachomatis (C.t.) infection is one of the most prevalent sexually transmitted disease in Europe and in developed countries. The main biological features and pathogenic mechanisms of C.t. infection are summarized in this review. It usually occurs without symptoms and often goes undiagnosed. If untreated, it can cause severe consequences for women, including pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), ectopic pregnancy and tubal infertility. Several studies have found that Chlamydia is more common among young women <25 years old, with multiple sexual partners within six months and non protected intercourses. Because re-infection rates are high, complications may be reduced if partners are treated and women re-tested. This paper emphasizes the importance of counselling and prevention programs and underlines that selective screening of high-risk population remains an essential component of C.t. control. In the last years, the detection of C.t. infection has been improved in sensitivity and specificity.We describe the main diagnostic techniques, from culture, enzyme immunoassay (EIA), direct fluorescent-antibody assay (DFA) to the new DNA-based test systems. Actually, NAATs (nucleic acid amplification tests) are regarded as the gold standard diagnostic techniques for chlamydial infections.
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