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A type of bacteria one species of which causes an infection very similar to gonorrhea in the way that it is spread, the symptoms it produces, and the long-term consequences.

Like gonorrhea, chlamydia is found in the cervix and urethra and can also live in the throat or rectum. Like gonorrhea, it is highly destructive to the tubes (the fallopian tubes), the conduits through which the eggs voyage from the ovary to the womb.

As a consequence, it causes infertility and tubal pregnancies (pregnancies that implant ectopically in the tubes, a potential disaster). Again like gonorrhea, chlamydia is a prime cause of severe pelvic inflammatory disease (PID).

Because women newly infected with chlamydia tend not to have symptoms (to be "silent" or symptom-free), chlamydia often goes undetected and untreated, the disease can progress in a stealthy way to wreck extensive destruction of the fallopian tubes and lead to infertility.

Once again like gonorrhea, chlamydia is associated with an increased incidence of preterm births (premies). Women with a history of chlamydia have an increased risk of developing cancer of the cervix.

Chlamydia can cause a spectrum of disease in men including urethritis (inflammation of the urethra), epididymitis (inflammation of the epididymis) and proctitis (inflammation of the rectum).

About four million Americans; most of them teenagers and young adults, contract chlamydia each year.

Misspellings of chlamydia include the following: clamidia, clamydia, clymidia, chlymidia, chlamidia, and clymidea.

—Based on information from
Webster's New World Medical Dictionary 2nd ed.; Wiley Publishing, Inc.; 2003.
This entry is located in the following unit: chlamydo-, chlamyd- (page 1)