Trachoma, caused by ocular strains of Chlamydia trachomatis (Ct), represents a major global public health issue, and is the subject of an international elimination campaign. Until recently, data on trachoma in the Pacific Island states have been sparse. The most recent studies have conflicted in their estimates of trachomatous disease burden in Fiji. Therefore, surveys using alternative markers (infection testing plus grading) to those already used (grading alone) are warranted.
This study used an externally validated clinical assessment protocol to show that evidence of active trachoma is present at a low prevalence, and there were no cases of trichiasis, the sight-threatening stage of trachoma. From testing of conjunctival swabs with a validated, next-generation PCR, Ct was shown to be present at a low prevalence. The clinical data suggest that trachoma does not meet the WHO definition of a public health problem in this Division of Fiji, but the inconsistency with previous studies warrants further investigation.