Investigators from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) and Johns Hopkins University compared three strategies to screen 7,699 women without symptoms who attended two family planning clinics in Baltimore, Md. In addition to the age-based screening found to be most effective, investigators evaluated universal screening and screening with the criteria recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). All women were tested with polymerase chain reaction (PCR). They calculated the cost-effectiveness of chlamydial screening by comparing total costs, including screening program costs, and estimating future medical costs of all sequelae.
"Certainly one of the great values of this study," says Anthony S. Fauci, M.D., director of NIAID, "is the confirmation that screening enables clinicians to identify and treat women with chlamydial infections and no symptoms, thus preventing many occurrences of serious sequelae, such as infertility."
Chlamydial infection is one of the leading sexually transmitted diseases in the United States today. The CDC estimates that more than 4 million new cases occur each year. Pelvic inflammatory disease, a serious complication of chlamydial infection, has emerged as a major cause of infertility among women of childbearing age.
Genital chlamydial infection is caused by the bacterium, Chlamydia trachomatis,
and is transmitted during vaginal or anal sexual contact
with an infected partner. A pregnant woman may pass the infection to her
newborn during delivery, with subsequent neonatal eye infection or pneumonia.
The annual cost of chlamydial infections and their sequelae in the U
Contact: Cheryl Parrott
NIH/National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases