CDC HIV/AIDS/Viral Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News UpdateARKANSAS: Source of Chlamydia Reinfections May Be GI Tract
February 10, 2014
Medical Xpress (02.06.2014)
Aids Weekly Plus
Medical Xpress reported on a study stating that chlamydia is difficult to cure because the disease can infect both the gastrointestinal tract and the reproductive tract. According to Roger Rank of the Arkansas Children’s Research Institute, the antibiotic azithromycin will eliminate the disease from the reproductive tract, but it remains benignly in the intestine and becomes a source of future reinfection.
Rank explained that chlamydia may persist for a long time, leading to recurrent infections, but the source and other details about its persistence were unknown. Rank and colleague Laxmi Yeruva have shown through experiments with mice that chlamydia in the intestines does not cause inflammation, but does not resolve.
Results of the experiments show that gastrointestinal infection produces a strong immune response that can be effective against genital infection, but does not cure the gastrointestinal infection. Ranks noted that chlamydia gastrointestinal infection had been documented in veterinary literature since the 1950s.
The full report, ““Hidden in Plain Sight:” Chlamydial Gastrointestinal Infection and Its Relevance to ‘Persistence’ in Human Genital Infections,” was published online ahead of print in the journal Infection and Immunity (2014; doi:10.1128/IAI.01244-13).