Infection, genetics and evolution : journal of molecular epidemiology and evolutionary genetics in infectious diseases

The clinical characteristics and genotype distribution of Chlamydia trachomatis infection in infants less than six months of age hospitalized with pneumonia.

PMID 25445657


Chlamydia trachomatis is a common sexually-transmitted bacterial pathogen. As no routine screening is performed during pregnancy, neonates and infants are at high risk for C. trachomatis infection. The objective of this study was to investigate the morbidity, clinical characteristics and genotype distribution of C. trachomatis pneumonia in infants less than six months of age. Clinical manifestations and laboratory results were recorded. Respiratory sputum specimens were tested using RT-PCR targeting C. trachomatis cryptic plasmid. Simultaneously, respiratory virus antigens were detected by direct immunofluorescence and bacterial pathogens were examined by culture in all sputum samples. Positive C. trachomatis samples were further genotyped using a multiplex PCR reverse line blot assay. The relationship between genotype and pneumonia severity was explored. Of 1408 infants, 101 (7.2%) were infected with C. trachomatis. Sixteen of 101 (15.8%) were assessed as severe pneumonia. These severe cases had a higher proportion of viral co-infection (37.5%) compared to mild pneumonia cases (9.4%, P<0.05).Infants with tachypnea (OR 9.2) and wheezing (OR 3.5) were more likely to be classified as severe pneumonia (P<0.05). Amongst 66 C. trachomatis specimens for which a genotyping result was available, seven genotypes were detected, and 39.4% of these specimens contained two or three genotypes. Overall, genotype E (48.5%) was the most frequent, followed by genotype F (42.4%), J (31.8%), D (12.1%), K (10.6%), G (4.5%) and H (3.0%). There were no significant correlations of particular genotypes with severity of disease, although there was a weak indication that more severe pneumonia might be associated with having certain mixed genotypes of C. trachomatis. The prevalence of C. trachomatis in the population of young hospitalized infants with pneumonia in Shenzhen was very high. The relationship between genotype distribution and severity of pneumonia was not clear based on this study due to small sample size. Further in-depth investigation correlating genotype and disease severity based on a larger population is needed.