New and emerging chlamydial infections of creatures great and small
A. Taylor-Brown1 and A. Polkinghorne2
1Centre for Animal Health Innovation, Faculty of Science, Health, Education and Engineering, University of the Sunshine Coast, Sippy Downs, Australia
Until recently, our knowledge of the host range and diversity of members of the Chlamydiaceae, obligate intracellular bacterial pathogens of humans and animals, was thought to be nearly complete. Aided by advances in molecular diagnostics, a new picture is emerging, however, that the host barriers may be looser than previously thought for many chlamydial species. While cross-host transmission of chlamydial species is a concern for animal health, new reports highlight an emerging zoonotic risk for several species associated with intensification of farming and the widespread popularity of companion animals. The description of an expanded cohort of new species within this family from avian and reptilian hosts has also highlighted how much we still have to learn about the biology and pathogenicity of the Chlamydiaceae as a whole. Reports emerging about these relatives of the traditional chlamydial pathogens are matched by the continued identification of novel Chlamydia-related bacteria in the phylum Chlamydiae, providing evidence that many may be pathogenic to humans or animals and pose a zoonotic or vector-borne risk. The review examines the new hosts described for well-characterized chlamydial veterinary pathogens, emerging novel chlamydial species and the potential for these to cause disease in their respective hosts.