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Chlamydia trachomatis and ectopic pregnancy: recent epidemiological findings

Bakken, Inger J

Current Opinion in Infectious Diseases: February 2008 - Volume 21 - Issue 1 - p 77–82
doi: 10.1097/QCO.0b013e3282f3d972
Sexually transmitted diseases and urinary tract infections: Edited by Anton L. Pozniak

Purpose of review Genital Chlamydia trachomatis is common among young, sexually active people. Infections are most often asymptomatic but have potential long-term consequences for female reproductive health. The link between C. trachomatis and ectopic pregnancy is mainly based on early seroepidemiological case–control studies including women who had their sexual debut at a time at which testing was sparse. The purpose of the present review is to summarize recent findings in C. trachomatis and ectopic pregnancy epidemiology.

Recent findings The number of prevalence studies is high but results are specific for the setting in which the study was conducted. High prevalences are often found among adolescents and young adults. At the same time, decreased ectopic pregnancy rates are reported. Registry studies from the Scandinavian countries have shown low ectopic pregnancy rates among women tested for C. trachomatis and diverging results considering whether women are at increased risk following infection.

Summary Recent studies on C. trachomatis infection and ectopic pregnancy are few. The recent Scandinavian registry studies include women with diagnosed, and hence presumably treated, infections. The observation of low complication rates in these studies cannot be used as an argument against the importance of screening for C. trachomatis infections.

Department of Epidemiology, SINTEF Health Research, Trondheim, Norway

Correspondence to Inger J. Bakken, Department of Epidemiology, SINTEF Health Research, 7465 Trondheim, Norway Tel: +47 982 45 149; fax: +47 9300 500; e-mail:

© 2008 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.