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- Obligate intracellular Gram negative bacteria.
- Grows like a virus (requires cell culture systems) but is a bacterium with RNA and DNA.
- As intracellular organism-parasite, requires host cell for ATP/GTP.
- Known to also cause disease in koalas, reptiles and amphibians.
- Elementary body is metabolically inactive form, has rigid cell wall that permits survival outside cell. Inside cell is seen as inclusion body.
- Incubation culture to positivity: average 21 d.
- Historically known as the "TWAR" agent, as two of the original isolates were from Taiwan.