Author(s): Solomon AW, Peeling RW, Foster A, Mabey DC
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Abstract Trachoma is caused by Chlamydia trachomatis. Clinical grading with the WHO simplified system can be highly repeatable provided graders are adequately trained and standardized. At the community level, rapid assessments are useful for confirming the absence of trachoma but do not determine the magnitude of the problem in communities where trachoma is present. New rapid assessment protocols incorporating techniques for obtaining representative population samples (without census preparation) may give better estimates of the prevalence of clinical trachoma. Clinical findings do not necessarily indicate the presence or absence of C. trachomatis infection, particularly as disease prevalence falls. The prevalence of ocular C. trachomatis infection (at the community level) is important because it is infection that is targeted when antibiotics are distributed in trachoma control campaigns. Methods to estimate infection prevalence are required. While culture is a sensitive test for the presence of viable organisms and nucleic acid amplification tests are sensitive and specific tools for the presence of chlamydial nucleic acids, the commercial assays presently available are all too expensive, too complex, or too unreliable for use in national programs. There is an urgent need for a rapid, reliable test for C. trachomatis to assist in measuring progress towards the elimination of trachoma.
This article was published in Clin Microbiol Rev
and referenced in Journal of Clinical & Experimental Ophthalmology