Diagnosis of Chlamydia
Sexually Transmitted Chlamydia
The symptoms of common chlamydial STD and ]]>gonorrhea]]> are very similar, so accurate diagnosis can be important. Although, in practice, it is standard to treat for both and not bother with the expensive testing often necessary to prove the diagnosis.
A swab test from the discharge of the penis or the cervix is the most reliable method for detecting chlamydia. A urine sample may be used as well. You may also be tested for others ]]>STDs]]> , including ]]>HIV]]> .
Other Forms of Chlamydial Infection
Diagnosing other forms of chlamydial infection depend upon a combination of your medical history (such as exposures to birds, sexual partners, foreign travel), your physical examination, and a collection of lab tests. In some cases, making the diagnosis can be quite difficult.
- Psittacosis—The diagnosis of psittacosis is difficult when an obvious history of exposure to birds is not present. There is a lab test that identifies antibodies to the germ and is performed by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
- Trachoma—This is diagnosed by culturing a swab from the conjunctiva, examining cells scraped from the conjunctiva, and doing an eye exam in later stages of the infection.
- ]]>Reiter’s syndrome]]> —The diagnosis of Reiter’s syndrome depends entirely upon your symptoms. Since the symptoms may take time to appear, the diagnosis may be delayed for several months.
Definitive diagnosis uses a number of different techniques. These may include taking specimens from infected areas, identifying molecules associated with the germ or antibodies to the germ, and recognizing strands of nucleic acid unique to the germ. The latter is done by using the newest methods of molecular biology.
Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety. Psittacosis. Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety website. Available at: http://www.ccohs.ca/oshanswers/diseases/psittacosis.html . Accessed September 18, 2008.
Canadian Paediatric Society. Recommendations for the prevention of neonatal ophthalmia. Canadian Paediatric Society website. Available at: http://www.cps.ca/english/statements/ID/ID02-03.htm . Updated March 2008. Accessed September 18, 2008.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Sexually transmitted diseases: chlamydia. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/std/chlamydia/default.htm . Accessed September 18, 2008.
Cook RL, Hutchison SL, Ostergaard L, et al. Systematic review: noninvasive testing for chlamydia trachomatis and neisseria gonorrhoeae. Ann Intern Med. 2005;142:914-925.
DynaMed Editorial Team. Chlamydia genital infection. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed/what.php. Updated July 16, 2010. Accessed November 12, 2010.
International Trachoma Initiative website. Available at: http://www.trachoma.org/ . Accessed September 18, 2008.
Miller KE. Diagnosis and treatment of chlamydia trachomatis infection. Am Fam Physician. 2006;73:1411-1416.
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. Chlamydia. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases website. Available at: http://www3.niaid.nih.gov/topics/chlamydia/ . Accessed September 18, 2008.
National Women's Health Organization. Chlamydia. National Women's Health Organization website. Available at: http://www.4women.gov/faq/stdchlam.htm . Updated May 2005. Accessed September 18, 2008.
Last reviewed September 2010 by ]]>Lawrence Frisch, MD, MPH]]>
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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