The epidemiology of trachoma in the Lower Shire Valley of southern Malawi and implications for the “SAFE” strategy


In 2014, a population-based cross-sectional study was conducted to determine the prevalence of trachoma and associated risk factors in the Lower Shire Valley of Southern Malawi. A total of 2,957 children aged 1-9 years who were assessed for clinical signs of trachomatous inflammation-follicular (TF) and 2,247 adults aged 15 and above were assessed for signs of trachomatous trichiasis (TT). The prevalence of TF among children aged 1-9 years was found to be 18.5% (95% CI 16.4-20.8) in Nsanje and 7.8% (95% CI 6.6-9.2) in Mwanza districts respectively. The prevalence of TT in adults aged 15 and above was 0.5% (95% CI: 0.1-0.9) in Nsanje district and 0.2% (95% CI: 0.1-0.4) in Mwanza district, respectively.

In regards to risk factors, only the presence of a dirty face was associated with trachoma follicular (TF) in Nsanje and Mwanza districts (P< 0.001). The prevalence of trachoma in Nsanje suggests the need for the implementation of the full SAFE (surgery, antibiotics, face washing and environmental) control strategy.

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Date published
22 February 2014