Chlamydia trachomatis was first discovered in the eyes of orangutans on the island of Java. During expeditions to research syphilis, scientists Ludwig Halberstaedter and Stanislaus von Prowazek infected orangutans with conjunctival scrapings of trachoma patients and discovered the organisms that they named the Chlamydozoa.
The two scientists published the first etiology of Chlamydia trachomatis in 1907. According to Chlamydiae.com, it was not until 1958 that other scientists discovered that the organism is a bacterium and not a virus.
According to the Review of Ophthalmology, chlamydia is the most common sexually transmitted bacterial disease in the world. The bacteria can infect several animal species besides humans, and it causes two types of chlamydial ocular infections in humans.