Prevalence of Chlamydia trachomatis infection in pregnant patients.
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Prevalence of Chlamydia trachomatis infection in pregnant patients.

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      Public Health Rep
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      Chlamydia is a sexually transmitted disease of epidemic proportions, infecting an estimated 4 million people a year. It results not only in infertility and ectopic pregnancy but also in infant morbidity and mortality. Ectopic pregnancy is responsible for 11 percent of maternal deaths. About 60 percent of infected women can transmit the bacteria at birth to their infants. Early detection and treatment of chlamydia in both men and women, especially prenatal women, is critical. Chlamydia trachomatis infection of the cervix was found in 8.1 percent of a group of 1,004 pregnant women at a hospital prenatal clinic by means of a direct fluorescent antibody test. The prevalence of C. trachomatis was only 0.7 percent in 277 pregnant women receiving prenatal care from private practitioners. All patients between 27 and 30 weeks gestation who tested positive were treated with oral erythromycin. Their partners were treated with tetracycline. The outcome of pregnancy in patients treated for chlamydial infection was compared with a control group of noninfected mothers from the same population. The frequency of premature rupture of the membranes, prematurity, and low Apgar scores among the treated women were not significantly different from those in the control group. There was a significant difference, however, between the two groups in the incidence of low mean birth weight infants and the presence of meconium. Children can acquire a chlamydial infection at birth from contact with infected cervico-vaginal secretions. If not detected and treated, these infected infants may develop conjunctivitis, bronchiolitis, and pneumonia. It is suggested, therefore, that all patients at prenatal clinics be screened for chlamydial cervicitis. Those testing positive and their partners should be treated.
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