New study suggests that repeated rounds of mass antibiotic administration to children can control trachoma in all community residents as children are the main reservoir of the infection.
Trachoma, is an eye infection caused by Chlamydia trachomatis. Trachoma is a most common preventable cause of blindness and the second most common cause of blindness after cataract. It has been estimated to cause 15% of the world's blindness. It is found to be most prevalent in poor, rural communities with lower standards of hygiene and sanitation.
According to researcher Jenafir I. House and colleagues of the University of California San Francisco, Herd protection is offered by repeated mass antibiotic treatments, providing a strategy for elimination of a bacterial disease when an effective vaccine is unavailable.
Researchers conducted a study of 4,764 children aged 1 to 10 years in 12 areas of Amhara, Ethiopia, who were randomized to receive a single dose of azithromycin four times a year, and 6,014 children in another 12 areas whose treatment was delayed until after the study.
At the 12-month mark, the investigators analyzed that the mass distribution compelled the ocular infection to went down from 48.4 to 3.6 percent. Even untreated children and adults had significantly lower rates of trachoma.
The study was published in the march 28 issue of The Lancet.