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Any of the bacterial parasites that make up the genus Chlamydia, which cause several diseases in humans, including conjunctivitis and chlamydial pneumonia. One form causes a variety of sexually transmitted diseases. In men, symptoms are similar to those of gonorrhea. In women, chlamydial infection ordinarily produces few, if any, symptoms, and most infected women thus are unaware of their condition. However, untreated infections in women can lead to sterility, a higher risk of premature births, and ectopic pregnancies. Chlamydia frequently causes conjunctivitis or pneumonia in the newborn infant. Treatment is with antibiotics.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on chlamydia, visit Britannica.com.