Trachoma is the result of infection of the eye with Chlamydia trachomatis. Infection spreads from person to person, and is frequently passed from child to child and from child to mother, especially where there are shortages of water, numerous flies, and crowded living conditions.Trachoma is sub-divided into active (early) and cicatricial (late-stage) disease. Active disease is more commonly found in children and is characterized by a chronic, recurrent follicular conjunctivitis, most prominently of the upper tarsal conjunctiva. Follicles are collections of lymphoid tissue subjacent to the tarsal conjunctival epithelium.
After years of targeted funding and research, trachoma has been wiped out in some regions and the WHO aims to vanquish it in remaining places by 2020. (Learn more in the related article about blindness from trachoma and trichiasis.) Research funded by the NIH's National Eye Institute (NEI) is playing a crucial role by identifying effective antibiotic regimens to combat the scourge. These include determining how often to administer treatment, what portion of a community must be reached and how to prevent re-infection.Antibiotics to treat infection, particularly mass drug administration of antibiotics, which is donated by the manufacturer to elimination programmes through the International Trachoma Initiative. Surgery to treat the blinding stage of the disease (trachomatous trichiasis).