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[afro-nets] Mass Antibiotic Treatment Could Eliminate Blindness

Yearly Mass Antibiotic Treatment Could Eliminate Leading Cause
of Blindness
--------------------------------------------------------------

12 October 2005
The Lancet
http://www.thelancet.com

Giving communities with high levels of Chlamydia trachomatis
yearly mass antibiotic treatment over a few years could be suf-
ficient to eliminate eye infection caused by the bacterium, sug-
gests an article in this week's issue of The Lancet.

Chlamydia trachomatis causes trachoma, an infection of the eyes
that may result in blindness after repeated re-infection. Tra-
choma is the world's leading cause of blindness. Previous stud-
ies have suggested that eye infection with C. trachomatis could
be eliminated after one mass treatment with antibiotics.

However, Sheila West (The Johns Hopkins School University, Bal-
timore, MD, USA) and colleagues found that in an area of Tanza-
nia with high levels of the bacterium, mass treatment signifi-
cantly reduced the prevalence of infection in the community but
infection re-emerged after 1-year.

Professor West states: The findings of our community based study
show that antibiotic coverage as high as 86% decreases, but does
not eliminate, ocular infection with C. trachomatis over 18
months. Trachoma and infectious load began to rise 12 months af-
ter treatment, suggesting that yearly mass treatment for this
community would be effective.


--
Leela McCullough, Ed.D.
Director of Information Services
SATELLIFE
30 California Street, Watertown, MA 02472, USA
Tel: +1-617-926-9400
Fax: +1-617-926-1212
mailto:leela@healthnet.org
http://www.healthnet.org

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