BackgroundChlamydia pneumoniae illness is poorly characterized, particularly as a sole causative pathogen. We investigated a C. pneumoniae outbreak at a federal correctional facility.MethodsWe identified inmates with acute respiratory illness (ARI) from 1 November 2009 to 24 February 2010 through clinic self-referral and active case finding. We tested oropharyngeal and/or nasopharyngeal swabs for C. pneumoniae by real-time polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) and serum samples by microimmunofluorescence. Cases were inmates with ARI and radiologically confirmed pneumonia, positive qPCR, or serological evidence of recent infection. Swabs from 7 acutely ill inmates were tested for 18 respiratory pathogens using qPCR TaqMan Array Cards (TACs). Follow-up swabs from case patients were collected for up to 8 weeks.ResultsAmong 33 self-referred and 226 randomly selected inmates, 52 (20.1%) met the case definition; pneumonia was confirmed in 4 by radiology only, in 9 by qPCR only, in 17 by serology only, and in 22 by both qPCR and serology. The prison attack rate was 10.4% (95% confidence interval, 7.0%-13.8%). White inmates and residents of housing unit Y were at highest risk. TAC testing detected C. pneumoniae in 4 (57%) inmates; no other causative pathogens were identified. Among 40 inmates followed prospectively, C. pneumoniae was detected for up to 8 weeks. Thirteen (52%) of 25 inmates treated with azithromycin continued to be qPCR positive >2 weeks after treatment.ConclusionsChlamydia pneumoniae was the causative pathogen of this outbreak. Higher risk among certain groups suggests that social interaction contributed to transmission. Persistence of C. pneumoniae in the oropharynx creates challenges for outbreak control measures.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
Financial support. This work was funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
- Chlamydia pneumoniae
- atypical pneumonia
- community-acquired pneumonia