A lot has been written about Chlamydia, the fact that it is one of the leading sexually transmitted infections and that if it is left undiagnosed and untreated, can lead to fertility problems or worse, in both man and women. But did you know that there are several other types of the Chlamydia bacteria out there?

Chlamydia Trachomatis is the bacterial type most people have heard about and is the one that is commonly sexually transmitted. It can cause infection of the throat, vagina, cervix, anus and urethra in women and infection of the throat, anus, penis and urethra in men. A Chlamydia infection can also be passed from mother to baby during childbirth and that can cause a type of eye infection in the baby which can damage their sight.

Another type of Chlamydia infection is caused by the Chlamydia Pneumoniae bacterium. This infection is a common cause of pneumonia around the world. It is typically acquired by otherwise healthy people and is a form of community acquired pneumonia. Because this bacterium is different from other types of bacteria that can also cause pneumonia, it is classed as an atypical pneumonia. This infection is also thought to cause other illnesses including arthritis, asthma, cancer, heart disease and others.

The third type of Chlamydia infection is caused by the Chlamydia Psittaci bacterium. This organism causes a condition called avian chlamydiosis in birds and a condition called psittacosis in humans. This bacterium has recently been reclassified and called Chlamydophila psittaci and is transmitted by inhalation, physical contact or ingestion amongst birds and animals. Symptoms usually start like a case of flu, but then develop into what can become life threatening pneumonia.

Fortunately Chlamydia Pneumoniae and Psittaci are both quite rare and most people will not be at risk. However Chlamydia Trachomatis is very common and regular testing is the best way to keep yourself safe.

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