New research has found that exposing chlamydia to the gut could protect against a possible infection in the genital tract. Chlamydia is one of the most common sexually transmitted diseases that can cause pelvic inflammatory disease, ectopic pregnancy and infertility.
The study’s findings, which were published in the Infection and Immunity Journal, notes that exposing chlamydia to the gut first was a unique approach to preventing the infection. In most cases, the first exposure of chlamydia is seen in the genital tract. When that happens, the disease will spread to the gut, and the body responds in a way that causes the disease to spread further.
However, according to University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio Professor Guangming Zhong, exposing chlamydia first to the gut means there could be a vaccine for the disease.
Human exposure to the disease is not predictable, as it can come from an infected partner or through contact with a contaminated material. Researchers used mice to control the way and to look at the transmission of chlamydia. What they found was that if the gut was the first area to be exposed, the infection became benign. However, when the genital tract is infected first, the disease spreads.
Zhong and his team looked at developing an oral vaccine using the Chlamydia trachomatis bacteria. He said people use probiotics to protect their GI health, and chlamydia may become a probiotic. Once the bacteria is in the GI tract, they don’t go anywhere else.
The CDC said chlamydia infections are common in young people, with 1 and 20 sexually active women 14 to 24 years old already exposed to the disease.
Written by Mark Riegel, MD
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