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CHLAMYDIA POSES HEALTH HAZARDS TO PREGNANT MOTHERS, OFFSPRING

 ROCHESTER, N.Y., April 30 /PRNewswire/ -- If you are pregnant, you should know about chlamydia, a "silent," sexually transmitted disease that can cause conjunctivitis and pneumonia among infants. Chlamydia is the greatest cause of nonviral blindness in the world.
 Although it is the most common sexually transmitted disease today, chlamydia has received limited press. Lost in the shadows of AIDS, chlamydia is rapidly ravaging a young adult population that has never heard of it. More than 2.5 million women, 1.8 million men and 110,000 infants are infected. An estimated 5 to 22 percent of mothers are infected with this disease.


EXTREMELY DANGEROUS
 The disease is extremely dangerous to both women and their unborn babies. If left untreated, chlamydia can cause reproductive diseases, ectopic (tubal) pregnancies and sterility. Some women may become infected shortly before, or at, the time of conception. Women can also contract the disease while pregnant. The fetus of every woman infected with chlamydia is in danger.
 Chlamydia can cause premature rupturing of the fetal membrane and premature delivery. The disease can be passed to the infant as it travels through the birth canal.


INFECTED INFANTS
 Once infected, infants can develop pneumonia or conjunctivitis (eye disease); the latter applies to almost one-third of babies born to infected mothers. Infants with conjunctivitis also have associated chlamydia infections of the rectum, urethra, and vagina. Pneumonia appears in 10 to 20 percent of these babies and is far more life- threatening.
 Children of infected adolescents who do not receive prenatal or postnatal care are at the greatest risk. Both these diseases are treatable if detected during postnatal checkups.
 How do you know whether you have chlamydia? The only accurate method of detection is by clinical testing. Chlamydia is extremely difficult to diagnose in women because it displays few symptoms.


TREATMENT IS SWIFT AND PAINLESS
 Accurate tests can be performed in a doctor's office. One of the newest, the Kodak SureCell kit, provides verifiable results in only nine minutes. Treatment is swift and painless: a seven- to 21-day course of the correct antibiotic.
 The Centers for Disease Control recommends that all women be screened for chlamydia during their first trimester of pregnancy. Testing and treatment can still be safely undertaken by women in the second or third trimester. If you are already pregnant, do not hesitate to ask your obstetrician or gynecologist to screen you for chlamydia.
 Many OB/GYNs routinely perform chlamydia testing as part of overall screening.
 Those at high risk for contracting the disease are women 25 or younger who have had multiple lifetime partners or a new sex partner in the last six months, and who use oral contraceptives or IUDs. Women with a previous history of a sexually transmitted disease are also at high risk. It has never been easier to protect yourself and your unborn child. Why take the chance?
 Kodak and SureCell are trademarks.
 -0- 4/30/93
 /EDITOR'S NOTE: This is part three in a series of five stories regarding chlamydia. Call Terence McArdle for photos and/or other stories./
 /CONTACT: Terence McArdle of Kodak Clinical Diagnostics, 716-724-6523 or 716-781-9176, fax/


CO: Kodak Clinical Diagnostics ST: New York IN: HEA SU:

KL -- CLFNS1 -- 3014 04/30/93 07:31 EDT
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Date:Apr 30, 1993
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