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Emerging role of Chlamydia and Chlamydia-like organisms in adverse pregnancy outcomes

Baud, Davida; Regan, Lesleyb; Greub, Gilberta

Current Opinion in Infectious Diseases: February 2008 - Volume 21 - Issue 1 - p 70–76
doi: 10.1097/QCO.0b013e3282f3e6a5
Sexually transmitted diseases and urinary tract infections: Edited by Anton L. Pozniak

Purpose of the review This review considers the roles of Chlamydia spp. and newly identified Chlamydia-like organisms in miscarriage, stillbirths and preterm labour in both animals and humans.

Recent findings The cause of miscarriage, stillbirth and preterm labour often remains unexplained. Intracellular bacteria that grow either poorly or not at all on media used routinely to detect human pathogens could be the aetiological agents of these obstetrical conditions. There is growing evidence that Chlamydia trachomatis, Chlamydophila abortus, Chlamydophila psittaci and Chlamydophila pneumoniae infections may result in adverse pregnancy outcomes in humans and/or animals. Waddlia, a Chlamydia-like organism first isolated from an aborted bovine, has emerged as an agent of abortion in cattle. Recently, Waddlia was also implicated in human foetal death. Moreover, Parachlamydia acanthamoebae is also abortigenic in ruminants. Whether additional novel Chlamydia-like organisms, such as Protochlamydia amoebophila, Neochlamydia hartmanellae, Criblamydia sequanensis, Rhabdochlamydia crassificans and Simkania negevensis, are involved in foetal loss or premature delivery remains to be determined.

Summary This review provides an update on the consequences of chlamydial infection during pregnancy and summarizes current evidence suggesting that some Chlamydia-related organisms are probably emerging obstetrical pathogens.

aCenter for Research on Intracellular Bacteria (CRIB), Institute of Microbiology, University Hospital Center and University of Lausanne, Lausanne, Switzerland

bDepartment of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Imperial College London, St Mary's Hospital, London, UK

Correspondence to Gilbert Greub, Center for Research on Intracellular Bacteria, Institute of Microbiology, University Hospital Center and University of Lausanne, Bugnon 48, 1011 Lausanne, Switzerland Tel: +00 41 21 314 49 79; fax: +00 41 21 314 40 60; e-mail:

© 2008 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.