Trachoma is a bacterial infection that affects the eyes. It is a leading preventable cause of blindness globally, with 1.9illion people living with trachoma worldwide. Trachoma is a Public Health problem in 44 countries, with African countries being the most affected. In June 2021, A data released by the World Health Organization (WHO) reported that 136 million people live in trachoma endemic areas.
Trachoma is caused by an infection with Chlamydia trachomatis bacteria. This infection is contagious and blindness from trachoma is not reversible. Trachoma can be transmitted by direct or indirect transfer of eye and nose discharge of infected people. This can occur through direct contact with fingers, clothes and beddings. Flies can also be involved in the transmission of the infection.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), there are five (5) stages of the development of trachoma. They are follicular inflammation, intense inflammation, eyelid scarring, in-turned eyelashes (trichiasis) and corneal clouding.
Inadequate access to water, poor hygiene, crowded households, poor sanitation and flies are risk factors for trachoma. The symptoms are mild itching and irritation of the eyes and eyelids, swollen eyelids, eye pain, eye redness, sensitivity to light and loss of vision. If left untreated, trachoma can lead to trichiasis and blindness.
The SAFE strategy is used in eliminating Trachoma. SAFE stands for Surgery, Antibiotics, Facial cleanliness and Environmental improvement. Other means of preventing Trachoma are proper hand-washing, fly control, proper waste management and improved access to water.
Laboratory diagnosis is by microscopic examination of eye swabs.Nucleic Acid Amplification Tests (including PCR) and Complement Fixation Test are also used in the laboratory diagnosis of Trachoma.
Visit MedBioTechLab for microscopic tests to aid early diagnosis of trachoma.