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Clin Infect Dis. 2004 Nov 1;39(9):e95-7. Epub 2004 Oct 6.

Mass antibiotic treatment and community protection in trachoma control programs.

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  • 1F. I. Proctor Foundation for Research in Ophthalmology, University of California, San Francisco, CA 94143-0944, USA.


Azithromycin is highly effective against trachoma, but the practical difficulties of community-wide distribution often leave many individuals untreated. We demonstrate, after mass azithromycin treatment of a population in Ethiopia, an indirect protective effect that occurred among untreated children who resided in villages in which most individuals had been treated. Similarities with the indirect protection within a treated community (i.e., "herd protection") that has been observed in vaccination programs are discussed.

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