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Bull World Health Organ. 1999; 77(6): 461–466.
PMCID: PMC2557684

Reliability of clinical diagnosis in identifying infectious trachoma in a low-prevalence area of Nepal.


The WHO Alliance for Global Elimination of Trachoma by 2020 has increased the need to identify ocular chlamydial infections by clinical examination in areas of both high and low prevalence. The relationship between clinically active trachoma (as defined by clinical examination) and chlamydial infection is known for areas with hyperendemic trachoma, but not for areas with a low prevalence of the clinical disease. In the present study, we examined, photographed, and DNA tested the conjunctivae of children in the Surkhet district of mid-western Nepal, an area known to have a low prevalence of clinically active trachoma. Although 6% of the children aged 10 years and under were found to have clinically active trachoma, none were found to have chlamydia infection by the most sensitive DNA amplification tests available. A very low prevalence of clinically active trachoma is not necessarily evidence of the presence of chlamydial infection. Therefore, the WHO policy of not recommending an intensive trachoma control effort when the prevalence of clinically active trachoma is less than 10% in children is appropriate for this area of Nepal.

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