Until Dr. Walter Stamm, MD, pursued his meticulous research into urinary tract infections (UTIs) and sexually transmitted diseases in the 1970s, women were put on long treatment courses of antibiotics. Chlamydia trachomatis,-- then unknown-- was a cause of pelvic inflammatory disease and female infertility. But Dr. Stamm changed all that, altering the standards of care for UTIs and chlamydia. It was with great sadness that I learned of Dr. Stamm's death last week.
In an obituary in the New York Times, Anthony Fauci, MD, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, called Dr. Stamm "a giant in the field of infectious diseases in general who made many seminal clinical research contributions over decades that have transformed the diagnosis and treatment of urinary tract infections and pelvic inflammatory disease."
The obituary shows Dr. Stamm's wide range of accomplishments, including the discovery of pathogens causing urinary tract infections, minimizing antibiotic resistance through shorter, less aggressive antibiotic regimens, sparing women from becoming infertile, launching worldwide chlamydia disease screening and control programs, and working on HIV vaccine research trials.