Chlamydia pneumoniae is a type of bacteria, known for causing pneumonia. It is a small organism, not visible to the naked eye. Chlamydia pneumoniae is transferred through respiratory droplets from an infected host. If a person coughs on something, the disease can stay there and infect multiple people. Once transferred to a new host’s lungs, the bacteria will be recognized as a foreign pathogen and will be engulfed by white blood cells in a process called phagocytosis. The bacteria can survive by transforming into a new form resistant to the bacteria and will replicate in the white blood cell.
After replicating, the bacteria will begin to take over the white blood cell, and use it’s machinery to fuel the bacteria. After replication is complete, Chlamydia will destroy the host cell, releasing new bacteria into the body. This process will happen multiple times and is particularly dangerous since the cells are able to survive the defenses of the body.
When there are enough of these bacteria in the lungs, they will begin to interfere with the lung’s normal processes and cause pneumonia. It can be a difficult disease to treat since pneumonia is an intercellular pathogen and hard to find by a doctor. There are some antimicrobials that have proven effective. However, treatment of the disease depends on how quickly it has been diagnosed.
Although Chlamydia pneumonia usually causes pneumonia, it can cause other diseases as well. The bacteria can spread through the body and cause meningitis, arthritis, and myocarditis. These bacteria, by interfering with normal body functions, serve as an irritant and cause inflammation of the brain, joints, and heart. In some cases, especially in places without adequate medical care, Chlamydia pneumonia can cause death. However, if a doctor is seen promptly, there are treatment options available.
People most at risk for contracting Chlamydia pneumonia are school age children. Since the disease is respiratory, it is spread most easily in groups of people that have close proximity. A school is a place where children are in close contact with each other for several hours. Additionally, children do have weaker immune systems than adults and sometimes do not follow adequate hygiene procedures. All of these lead to increased risk of contracting the bacteria. Adults can also catch the disease of course, and should be careful, especially in the winter months when respiratory diseases are most common. By taking proper precautionary steps, an individual can minimize his chance of infection.