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Self-Study STD Module - Chlamydia

Clinical Manifestations and Sequelae

Most C. trachomatis infections in women and in men are asymptomatic.  However, clinical manifestations can occur at any site of infection.  C. trachomatis causes urogenital infections in males and females, conjunctivitis in adults and neonates, and pneumonia in neonates.  Distinct strains of C. trachomatis cause the eye disease trachoma and the syndrome lymphogranuloma venereum (LGV).

Genital Infection in Men

Clinical Manifestations of C. trachomatisInfection in Men
Uncomplicated
Urethritis

Complicated
Epididymitis
Reiter’s Syndrome

The most common site for chlamydial infection in men is the urethra, where it presents as a non-gonoccocal urethritis (NGU). The signs and symptoms of NGU are dysuria and urethral discharge, which is either mucopurulent, mucoid, or clear.  However, most men with urethral chlamydial infection in population screening are asymptomatic.

(Click on image for larger view)
Non-Gonococcal Urethritis: Mucoid Discharge

Attempts to distinguish gonococcal urethritis (GU) from NGU on clinical examination are not reliable. However, the discharge from urethritis caused by C. trachomatis tends to be a mucopurulent, mucoid, or clear rather than an obviously purulent discharge as more often is the case with GU.

The incubation period for C. trachomatis infection is unknown, but it is estimated to be 5-10 days in symptomatic infection.

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Page last modified: December, 2009
Page last reviewed: December, 2009

Content Source:Division of STD Prevention, National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention


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