Can Chlamydia Pneumoniae Be Cured?

Reviewed on 8/26/2020

What Is Chlamydia Pneumoniae?

Chlamydia pneumoniae is bacteria that can damage the lining of the respiratory tract including the throat, lungs, and windpipe, causing respiratory tract infections such as pneumonia or bronchitis

C. pneumoniae is a common cause of community-acquired pneumonia or lung infections developed outside of a hospital. 

Chlamydia pneumoniae is not the same bacterium as Chlamydia trachomatis, which is responsible for the sexually transmitted infection (STI) chlamydia.

What Are Symptoms of Chlamydia Pneumoniae?

Chlamydia pneumoniae generally causes mild illness and in some cases no symptoms at all. It usually takes about 3 to 4 weeks for symptoms to appear after exposure to the bacteria. 

Common symptoms of upper respiratory tract infections caused by Chlamydia pneumoniae include:

What Causes Chlamydia Pneumoniae?

The bacteria Chlamydia pneumoniae damages the lining of the respiratory tract including the throat, windpipe, and lungs, causing respiratory tract infections such as pneumonia and bronchitis.

C. pneumoniae is spread when infected people cough or sneeze, releasing small respiratory droplets that contain the bacteria that can be inhaled by others nearby. Touching something covered with droplets from a sick person’s cough or sneeze, then touching one’s mouth or nose can also result in infection. It is common for C. pneumoniae to spread among people who live together. 

People at increased risk for C. pneumoniae infection usually live or work in crowded settings where outbreaks commonly occur, including:

  • Schools
  • Nursing homes
  • Hospitals
  • College dormitories
  • Military barracks
  • Prisons

How Is Chlamydia Pneumoniae Diagnosed?

Chlamydia pneumoniae is diagnosed by:

  • Taking a sample of sputum (phlegm) or swab from the nose or throat
  • Blood testing

SLIDESHOW

Bacterial Infections 101: Types, Symptoms, and Treatments See Slideshow

What Is the Treatment for Chlamydia Pneumoniae?

Chlamydia pneumoniae infections may be cured with antibiotics, however people often recover on their own without medication.

Antibiotics that may be used to treat C. pneumoniae include:

In some cases, symptoms of C. pneumoniae infection can reappear after a course of antibiotics and a secondary course of treatment may be recommended.

Penicillins and “sulfa” drugs are not recommended to treat C. pneumoniae because the bacterium has shown resistance to these antibiotics in lab settings. 


 

What Are Complications of Chlamydia Pneumoniae?

Chlamydia pneumoniae infection usually only causes mild illness. In rare cases, complications may occur such as:

  • Swelling in the brain (encephalitis)
  • Swelling of the heart (myocarditis)

Chronic infection that may contribute to chronic conditions, such as:

How Do You Prevent Chlamydia Pneumoniae?

The best way to prevent Chlamydia pneumoniae is with proper hygiene. 

  • Wash hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
  • If soap and water are not available, use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol and use a sufficient amount to rub in for 20 seconds
  • Do not touch your mouth, nose, or eyes with unwashed hands
  • Cover your mouth and nose when you sneeze or cough
    • Cough or sneeze into your upper arm or elbow and not your hands
    • If you use a tissue, throw it away immediately 

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Reviewed on 8/26/2020
References
Medscape Medical Reference