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Chlamydia trachomatis conjunctivitis in the pre-pubertal child
  1. Rebecca Moore1,
  2. Peter Mallett2,
  3. Sarah Hull3,
  4. Sharon Christie2,
  5. Emma Simpson4,
  6. Jackie Bowen4,
  7. Wallace Dinsmore3,
  8. Conall McCaughey5,
  9. Alison Livingstone3
  1. 1 Paediatrics, Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children, Belfast, UK
  2. 2 Paediatric Infectious Diseases, Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children, Belfast, UK
  3. 3 The Rowan, Sexual Assault Referral Centre, Northern Health and Social Care Trust, Antrim, UK
  4. 4 Social Services, Northern Health and Social Care Trust, Antrim, UK
  5. 5 Virology, Royal Victoria Hospital, Belfast, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Rebecca Moore, Paediatrics, Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children, Belfast BT12 6BA, UK; becca_ally{at}


Much is reported in the literature about the transmission and presentation of Chlamydia trachomatis conjunctival infection in the neonate; however, there is a paucity of information available on infection in the older pre-pubertal child (>3 years of age). We present the case of a 7-year-old girl, referred for assessment at the sexual assault referral centre following the diagnosis of unilateral C. trachomatis conjunctivitis. This child underwent a rigorous multiagency child protection process, with input from medical professionals, social services and the police to investigate the possibility of child sexual abuse (CSA). However, a group consensus was reached that non-sexual close contact transfer of C. trachomatis from the mother was the most likely mode of transmission and cause of infection. We aim to take the reader through the complex path to this conclusion, the approach to sexually transmitted infections and potential CSA and what is currently known about chlamydial conjunctivitis in children beyond the neonatal period.

  • Child Abuse
  • Infectious Disease Medicine
  • Epidemiology

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  • Contributors RM and AL conceived the idea for the manuscript. RM wrote the body of the manuscript. PM, CMcC and AL contributed to the writing of the manuscript. SC, ES, JB, SH and WD all edited and reviewed the final manuscript. All authors approved the final version.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.