Cause: Bacterium Chlamydia trachomatis.

Illness and treatment: Asymptomatic infection is common. There may be pain during urination or abnormal genital discharge. Females can have abdominal pain due to pelvic inflammatory disease, which can cause infertility or ectopic pregnancy. The patient and sexual partners should take appropriate antibiotics. Treated patients should be retested in 3 to 4 months.

Sources: Chlamydial infection is sexually transmitted or may be acquired at birth.

Additional risks: Disease rates are highest among sexually active adolescents and young adults. Female adolescents are physiologically more susceptible to infection than older women. Perinatal infection can result in neonatal conjunctivitis or pneumonia.

Prevention: Use safe sexual practices to reduce transmission. Screen sexually active women at risk to detect infection in asymptomatic patients. If Chlamydia is found, also screen or treat for gonorrhea.

Recent Washington trends: Each year over 20,000 cases are reported.

2010: 21,401 cases were reported (317.8 cases/100,000 population).

Purpose of Reporting and Surveillance

  • To assess trends in epidemic patterns, understand the impact of the burden of disease on populations, the health care infrastructure, and to better target population-level disease prevention efforts

  • To assure the adequate treatment of infected individuals in order to reduce the duration of infectiousness and prevent sequelae of infection. (e.g., PID, ectopic pregnancy, infertility)

  • To identify cases in a timely fashion in order to interrupt the chain of infection through patient-level interventions such as management of sexual contacts and behavioral risk reduction counseling

Legal Reporting Requirements

  • Health care providers: notifiable to local health jurisdiction within 3 work days

  • Hospitals: notifiable to local health jurisdiction within 3 work days

  • Laboratories: notifiable to local health jurisdiction within 2 work days

  • Local health jurisdictions: notify the Washington State Department of Health

  • STD Services Section within 7 days of case investigation completion; summary information required within 21 days for all reported cases

Last update
December 2011