Sightsavers Reports

The impact of climatic risk factors on the prevalence, distribution, and severity of acute and chronic trachoma

Trachoma – the leading cause of infectious blindness – is spread through contact with infected persons by hands and towels, and by ‘eye-seeking flies’. Trachoma prevalence is high in areas characterised by poverty, inadequate water supply and poor sanitation. Trachoma is controlled by the SAFE strategy: S = surgery to the upper eyelids; A = antibiotics for active infection; F = facial cleanliness; and E = environmental improvement.

In this study we reviewed the scientific literature to assess the extent to which climatic factors (e.g. rainfall, heat, dust, altitude) influence trachoma distribution. A systematic review of the literature found eight papers that measured an association between a climatic factor and trachoma in children or adults. Several studies reported that trachoma is less common at higher altitudes, indicating that temperature may play a role in trachoma transmission. Some studies also reported that trachoma is higher in areas with low rainfall, which is consistent with anecdotal evidence that trachoma is associated with dry environments.

Aluna, who has advanced trachoma, has her eyes examined by an eye health worker.
Journal Article
Date published
PloS neglected tropical diseases
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