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Int J Epidemiol. 1999 Dec;28(6):1167-71.

Incidence of trichiasis in a cohort of women with and without scarring.

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  • 1Dana Center for Preventive Ophthalmology, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD 21205, USA.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Blindness from trachoma is a significant problem for many underdeveloped countries. While active trachoma is common in children, trichiasis, the potentially blinding sequella, develops in adulthood and affects mainly women. Little is known about factors associated with the development of trichiasis.

METHODS:

The 7-year incidence of trichiasis and its association with ocular chlamydia infection was examined in a cohort of women from a hyperendemic area. A total of 4,932 women 18 years and older, living in 11 villages in Central Tanzania, were examined in 1989. A follow-up examination in 1996 was performed on all women with scars living in six of the 11 villages and on a random sample of women without scars from the same villages. Trachoma was graded clinically, chlamydia infection was ascertained at follow-up using polymerase chain reaction-enzyme immunoassay (PCR-EIA).

RESULTS:

A total 523 of the women with scars and 503 of the women without scars were re-examined. Forty-eight of the women with scars (incidence, 9.2%) and three of the women without scars (0.6%) developed trichiasis in the 7-year period. Prevalence of chlamydia infection was significantly higher in the group with scars (11.7% versus 7.1%). Trichiasis cases were more likely to be older, and to have chlamydia infection at follow-up odds ratio (95% confidence interval) 2.5 (1.1-5.7).

CONCLUSION:

The 7-year incidence rate in the population with scars was high, over 1% per year. Ocular chlamydia infection was more common in the group with scars at baseline and was also associated with being a trichiasis case, suggesting the importance of potentially long-term chlamydia infection in the progression to trichiasis. Antibiotic distribution programmes for trachoma control should include women with scars.

PMID:
10661664
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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