National health statistics report a 2·5-fold increase in laboratory-confirmed Chlamydia trachomatis (CT) cases over the last decade in Switzerland where no CT screening programme exists. We obtained essential denominator information to describe the epidemiology of CT in the canton of Basel-Stadt, an urban canton in north-western Switzerland. Laboratories reporting at least two CT infections from Basel-Stadt residents to the SFOPH in 2010 provided demographic and test-related data. CT positivity rates were calculated for 2002–2010. The influences of test year, age, sex and laboratory on CT positivity were investigated in a multivariable model. Positivity differed between sexes and age groups. In our sample of 32 034 records, female and male CT positivity rates were 4·7% and 11·1%, respectively. Test year was significantly associated with test outcome in the multivariable analysis but no time trend was observed. CT positivity did not change over the past 9 years in Basel-Stadt. In contrast to other European countries without CT screening, we found no evidence that the observed increase of Chlamydia cases in the national notification system represents an epidemiological trend, but rather results from an increased testing frequency.