UB Researcher Recommends Widespread Screening For Chlamydia

By Lois Baker

Release Date: June 20, 1994 This content is archived.


BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Widespread screening for chlamydia among sexually active, single women under the age of 25 is needed to reduce the incidence of illness associated with untreated chlamydial cervicitis, a University at Buffalo medical researcher recommends.

Because chlamydia is often asymptomatic, and no single risk factor has been identified that reliably predicts infection, it is difficult for doctors to identify infected persons without the use of widespread screening, writes Barbara A. Majeroni, M.D., UB clinical assistant professor of family medicine, in an article published in the June issue of American Family Physician.

Twenty to 40 percent of sexually active women in the United States show evidence of exposure to C. trachomatis, the organism that causes chlamydia.

If left untreated, chlamydia has the potential for serious gynecological complications.

"Many infected women are asymtomatic, but untreated asymptomatic infection may lead to serious sequelae, such as salpingitis [inflammation of the fallopian tube] or pelvic inflammatory disease, with subsequent tubal damage and infertility. Previous infection with C. trachomatis has been identified as an important cause of ectopic pregnancy," says Majeroni.

Chlamydia also can be transferred from an infected mother to the infant during passage through the cervix, placing the infant at risk of respiratory infection and conjunctivitis.

Current research indicates a decline in the prevalence of C. trachomatis in areas where widespread screening has led to more frequent detection, Majeroni writes.

• Have been found to have the organism that causes gonorrhea