I have been researching this for a few hours now and I have not been able to find anything that says swabs cannot be used to detect chlamydia, no matter how severe. I did find research stating that swabs are not always accurate because they need to be taken directly from an infected area and may sometimes miss the bacteria causing the infection. I’m very curious myself now though so if you could tell me where you received this information maybe I can answer your question a bit better.
Basically, it is agreed that disease is different from infection. I have been doing research on chlamydia in koalas for 1 year now. Based on the work I have done till now, it clearly suggests that even an animal with high disease level has no chlamydia in its swabs and contrarily there is presence of chlamydia in healthy animal. It is of my opinion that disease and detection of infectious agent are two different issues. We detect the presence of a microbe by PCR and disease by ultrasound or other pathology examinations.
I did read a lot about the presence of chlamydia antibodies found in koalas that were not infected by the disease at all. The researchers were suggesting that over the past 40,000 years that it has become a genetic trait due to the exposure to chlamydia from other mammals. I read also that the genetic variation is very low in most of the populations that are greatly affected by chlamydia. Most of the sources I found did say they used fluorescent tests and other means to detect the presence of the bacteria but I also frequently saw that swabs were used. Its so interesting to me that the severely infected animals aren’t able to be diagnosed by swab. This is going to be a little personal project of mine now!
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