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The discovery of Chlamydia trachomatis
  1. David Taylor-Robinson
  1. Imperial College London, London, UK
  1. Correspondence to Professor David Taylor-Robinson, Baytrees, 20 South Park View, Gerrards Cross SL9 8HN, UK; trobinson3{at}

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In 1907, Halberstaedter and von Prowazek, associates of Albert Neisser, saw intracytoplasmic inclusions in conjunctival scrapings from subjects with trachoma. Recognising the existence of an infectious agent and that inclusions were draped around the nucleus, they suggested the name Chlamydozoa (Greek chlamys, a cloak). First thought to be protozoa and then a virus, this purported micro-organism was, in fact, a bacterium specialised to exist …

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  • Competing interests None.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; internally peer reviewed.