Chlamydia trachomatis is a bacteria species in the genus Chlamydia. There are three other species in the genus. Chlamydia trachomatis is a gram negative organism, meaning that when stained in a laboratory, it will appear pink under a microscope. This bacteria is associated with causing the disease Chlamydia.
An infection from this organism is usually spread through sexual intercourse. This organism is only found in humans and they are the natural reservoir of Chlamydia. It can also be passed from a mother to her child during childbirth. In a newborn child, the disease will infect the eyes and potentially cause blindness. Unlike other diseases, many people do not show symptoms of the disease and are unaware of being carriers. Although the disease can be treated, if not diagnosed, Chlamydia can cause serious reproductive problems over time.
In women, Chlamydia is often asymptomatic. It can cause pelvic inflammatory disease, which is an infection of the reproductive organisms. If not treated immediately, inflammation will lead to scarring. This scarring can cause infertility as well as being painful on a daily basis. Usually this disease is diagnosed in patients who experience unusual bleeding and have general pain in their lower body. It has also been diagnosed incorrectly as a urinary tract infection since both diseases have similar symptoms.
In men, chlamydia is much more likely to cause symptoms, although not in all cases. Men also experience a painful discharge which usually prompts them to seek a medical professional. If the disease is not treated promptly, the Chlamydia trachomatis can spread to the testicles and cause epididymitis, or an inflammation of the sex organism. It is also possible to cause sterility if not treated.
Chlamydia trachomatis is particularly dangerous because it is an intracellular pathogen. After the disease has been spread to a new host, the bacteria cells exist as elementary bodies. These elementary bodies are small and able to survive in caustic environments. The body’s defenses recognize the bacteria as being foreign and engulf them in a process called phagocytosis. Once inside the cell, the elementary bodies turn into reticulate bodies which are the active form of the bacteria. Inside the cell, the reticulate bodies take over the cell’s machinery to power their own metabolic processes. Inside the host, the bacteria reproduce and grow. When the cells have matured, they convert back into elementary bodies and are released, free to infect other cells.