Chlamydia are tiny bacteria, which are known to cause a number of diseases including trachoma, which can lead to blindness and non-specific urethritis, which has been linked with female infertility.
Chlamydia infection, contracted from sheep, has also been known to cause miscarriage in female farm workers. Whilst some species of birds, particularly parrots and have been known to transmit chlamydia psittaci, causing a persistent chest infection in humans.
Outside a human or animal host the bacteria are dormant - not feeding growing or multiplying. When the bacteria come into contact with 'host' tissue the host cells engulf the bacteria in an attempt to destroy it. However, the bacteria take over the biochemical processes within the cell using them to produce more chlamydia, which burst out of the cell, destroying the cell and infecting other neighboring cells.
Once established in the body the chlamydia infection can last weeks, months or even years. The bacterium infects the host via moist tissue areas like the genitals, eyes and lungs. All modes of transmission are not known, although, it is known that it can be sexually transmitted.
The bacteria do respond to specific antibiotics, but like most diseases, due to the severe risks associated with the infection, prevention is better than cure. Safe sex and good hygiene will reduce your risk of infection by chlamydia.
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