Kolkata: The number of people at risk of trachoma the world's leading infectious cause of blindness has fallen from 1.5 billion in 2002 to just over 142 million in 2019, a reduction of 91 percent, WHO has reported.
New data show that the number of people requiring surgery for trachomatous trichiasis. The late, blinding stage of trachoma has dropped from 7.6 million in 2002 to 2.5 million in 2019, a reduction of 68 percent.
Trachoma remains endemic in 44 countries and has blinded or visually impaired around 1.9 million people worldwide. Mapping of trachoma has been completed to identify its distribution and target control measures through the SAFE strategy, namely: surgery for trichiasis, antibiotics to clear the infection, and facial cleanliness and environmental improvement to reduce transmission.
The disease is caused by infection with a bacterium.
In 2018 alone, 146112 cases of trichiasis were managed and almost 90 million people were treated with antibiotics for trachoma in 782 districts worldwide. Since 2011, eight countries have been validated by WHO as having eliminated trachoma as a public health problem1. At least one country in every trachoma-endemic WHO Region has now achieved this milestone, demonstrating the effectiveness of the SAFE strategy in different settings.
The significant reduction in the global prevalence of trachoma has resulted from increased political will in endemic countries, expansion of control measures and generation of high-quality data.
The global program has been supported by the world's largest infectious disease mapping effort. The Global Trachoma Mapping Project (2012,2016) and, since 2016, by Tropical Data, which has assisted health ministry’s to complete more than 1500 internationally-standardized, quality-assured and quality-controlled prevalence surveys.
In 1996, the WHO launched GET2020, and with other partners in the Alliance, it supports the country implementation of the SAFE strategy and strengthening of national capacity for epidemiological assessment, monitoring, surveillance, project evaluation, and resource mobilization.
Elimination of trachoma is inexpensive, simple and highly cost-effective, yielding a high rate of net economic return. Trachoma is the leading infectious cause of blindness worldwide. It is caused by an obligate intracellular bacterium called Chlamydia trachomatis.
The infection is transmitted by direct or indirect transfer of eye and nose discharges of infected people, particularly young children who harbor the principal reservoir of infection.
These discharges can be spread by particular species of flies.