Chlamydia pneumoniae

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What is Chlamydia pneumoniae?

The bacterium Chlamydia pneumoniae (C. pneumoniae) belongs to the genus Chlamydophila from the Chlamydiaceae family. This intracellular pathogen is pathogenic to humans and, so far, can only be assigned to one serotype. It constantly needs energy from the host cell and is therefore also called an energy parasite. The only known reservoir is man. A disease caused by C. pneumoniae, which occurs frequently and is widespread worldwide, usually causes respiratory infections, i.e. infectious diseases of the respiratory tract. According to scientific studies, every human being has had contact with this bacterium at least once in their lifetime.

How is Chlamydia pneumoniae transmitted?

C. pneumoniae can remain inactive in the respiratory tract for many years. Infected persons thus remain contagious for longer and can pass on the pathogen by droplet transmission. Persons of all ages are affected. Most initial infections occur in school-age children or young adults. Older people reinfect themselves with this pathogen in particular when they are in places with potentially high population density, such as nursing homes, hospitals or prisons.

What are symptoms of this disease?

After an incubation period of anywhere from about one week to one month, acute and chronic upper respiratory tract infections can occur. These infections include simultaneous inflammation of the tracheal and bronchial mucosa (trachebronchitis) as well as lung inflammation caused on an outpatient basis (pneumonia). Influenza-like accompanying symptoms are chills, fever, headache and muscle pain, persistent and unproductive, irritable cough and an inflammatory skin rash. An asymptomatic course of the disease is also possible. Every infection with C. pneumoniae leads to the formation of antibodies which, however, do not act protectively.

Significance for Infections in Hospitals and in Outpatient Areas

Basic hygiene measures, including hand disinfection and disinfection of the surface areas close to the patient and frequent hand contact, must be implemented.

Survival of Pathogens on Inanimate Surfaces

Up to 30 hours.

Effective Disinfectants for Prevention

The required spectrum of action of the disinfectant is bactericidal.

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