What is Chlamydia infection?
Chlamydia or Chlamydia infection is an infection that is sexually transmitted. Chlamydia has been derived from a Greek word which cloaks. It is caused by the bacteria Chlamydia trachomatis. People who have been infected have not shown symptoms.
But when symptoms appear, it can take several weeks for the infection to develop. This disease is a common sexually transmitted disease with is suffered by people worldwide.
A survey showed that in the year 2013, 141 million people were affected by this disease all over the world. In the U.D, nearly 1.4 million cases were reported of having a Chlamydia infection in the year 2014.
This infection is usually common among people whose ages range from 15 to 25. Also, this infection has seen to be more common in women than it is in men.
Symptoms in women:
- Vaginal discharge.
- Burning sensation during urination.
Symptoms in men:
- Penal discharge
- Burning sensation while urinating
- Swelling and pain in one or both testicles
If the symptoms of Chlamydia trachomatis are left untreated, it can cause severe infections and problems.
- Eye diseases
The disease conjunctivitis which is also called Trachoma is one of the most crucial reasons for blindness in the world. This infection can be transmitted to the eyes with hands that have touched contaminated and used towels. It can be spread by eye- seeking flies.
It can be caused by coughing and sneezing as well. Newborn babies can also develop symptoms of Chlamydia trachomatis such as Trachoma through childbirth. World Health organization has the goal to eliminate this infection worldwide by the year 2020.
- Reactive arthritis
Chlamydia trachomatis can cause reactive arthritis, which is accompanied by urethral inflammation and conjunctivitis. This especially affects young men. Nearly 15,000 men have developed arthritis due to Chlamydia infection every year in the U.S. This can happen to women as well but it is more commonly seen in men.
- Affects children
Nearly half the children of mothers infected with Chlamydia trachomatis will be born with Chlamydia infection. Children and infants are affected by Chlamydia by spontaneous abortion, conjunctivitis, premature birth and pneumonia. It can cause blindness in infants as well, due to conjunctivitis which affects newborns usually one week after birth.
There are several other conditions which are caused by Chlamydia infection. Lymphogranuloma venereum, which is an infection that affects the lymphatic system and the lymph nodes. It causes swelling of the lymph nodes, genital ulceration and may also cause rectal inflammation.
How is Chlamydia infection spread?
- The transmission of Chlamydia can be caused through vaginal, oral or anal sex.
- It can be passed from a mother who is infected with Chlamydia to her baby during childbirth.
- Infection in the eye can be caused by personal contact, contaminated towels, and flies. This happens in unhygienic and poor sanitized areas.
What is the protective vaccine against Chlamydia?
In Canada, a team of scientists and researchers have developed the first protective vaccine against Chlamydia. Canadian Institute for Health Research funded a study. In this study that was published on July 25 in the journal Vaccine, it was shown that a Chlamydial antigen called BD584 is a vaccine which is a potential candidate to treat Chlamydia trachomatis, which is a common species of Chlamydia. Co-author Dr. Dravid Bulir, Michael G. De Groote Institute for Infectious Disease Research and St. Joseph’s Research Institute says that as Chlamydia trachomatis infections are devoid of symptoms usually, it can go unnoticed and thus, untreated.
If this is untreated, it can cause vaginal discharge, burning sensation during urination, swelling and pain in one or both testicles, penal discharge, inflammatory diseases, infertility and eye infections. The study also showed that the antigen BD584 has been successful in reducing a symptom of Chlamydia trachomatis known as Chlamydia shedding.
The antigen has other beneficial uses too. It has shown to decrease hydrosalpinx which is yet another symptom of Chlamydia trachomatis. It helps in reducing a symptom where the Fallopian tubes are filled and blocked by serous fluids by almost 87.5%. Another infection caused by Chlamydia trachomatis is Trachoma, which is an eye infection. If left untreated, this infection can lead to blindness. Thus, this use
The vaccine has proven to be effective and it is to be administered through the nose. The method is painless and simple and it does not need a highly trained doctor or a professional to administer the vaccine. Therefore, this method and treatment is affordable and is quite inexpensive.
A study was conducted by scientists and researchers at Harvard Medical School and other research grounds in the U.S and Saudi Arabia. This study was funded by Sanofi Pasteur, the National Pharmaceutical Company. The study was then published in the peer-reviewed medical journal Science. The research was conducted on mice.
A new vaccine was tested on the animals to treat Chlamydia. The mice were vaccinated with UV light killed Chlamydia bacteria which were attached to nanoparticles. The vaccination was done through the mucous membranes of the nose or the uterus. By doing this, the mice were protected from live Chlamydia bacteria. But vaccination on the skin did not produce the same results and it didn’t work.
From the research, the reason why the mice were protected from the live Chlamydia bacteria when they were given the vaccine in their mucous membranes. It happened because two different kinds of immune systems called memory T cells interacted with each other. A set of the cells was retained in the mucous tissues of the uterus. This triggered a response from the other type of cells when they were infected with Chlamydia infection.
Thus, the researchers came to a conclusion stating that a combination of UV-killed Chlamydia bacteria attached to nanoparticles changed the immune response in comparison to the V light killed bacteria. It achieved a long-term protection from Chlamydia infection. Hence, the scientists suggest that a system or carriers of nanoparticles can be beneficial in creating a vaccine against Chlamydial infection.
How can it be treated?
- For mothers who are suffering from this Infection or babies who have acquired this infection are generally recommended to be treated with erythromycin or azithromycin.
- For people who are infected must get tested for Gonorrhea, syphilis, and HIV.
- After the infection has been cured, the people should be tested again after three months to assure that the infection has gone completely.
How to prevent Chlamydia infection?
- By having sex with a person who is not infected with Chlamydia.
- By having safe sex with the use of condoms or by not having sex at all.
- Mothers, who are infected with Chlamydia, must get it treated and be symptom-free before going into the pregnancy.