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Trachoma in the Pacific Islands: evidence from Trachoma Rapid Assessment
  1. A A Mathew1,
  2. J E Keeffe1,2,
  3. R T Le Mesurier1,
  4. H R Taylor3
  1. 1
    Centre for Eye Research Australia, University of Melbourne, Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital, Melbourne, Australia
  2. 2
    Vision CRC, Sydney, Australia
  3. 3
    Melbourne School of Population Health, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia
  1. Dr A A Mathew, Centre for Eye Research Australia, University of Melbourne, Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital, 32 Gisborne Street, East Melbourne, VIC 3002, Australia; mathewa{at}unimelb.edu.au

Abstract

Aims: To establish the presence or absence of trachoma in the Pacific Island region.

Methods: Trachoma Rapid Assessment methodology was used in Kiribati, Nauru, Vanuatu, Solomon Islands and Fiji. Advised by key informants, high-risk communities were chosen from each country. All available children aged 1–9 years and adults ⩾40 years were examined.

Results: A total of 903 adults ⩾40 years and 3102 children aged 1–9 years were screened at 67 sites. Rates of active trachoma in children were >15% in all sites in Kiribati and >20% in all sites in Nauru. However, there was a high variability of rates of active trachoma in survey sites in Vanuatu, Solomon Islands and Fiji with rates ranging from 0% to 43% (average 23.3%), 6.0% to 51.9% (average 30.5%) and 0% to 48.8% (average 22.1%) respectively. Average rates of scarring trachoma in adults were 61.9% in Kiribati, 12.5% in Nauru, 38.2% in Vanuatu, 67.0% in the Solomon Islands and 18.8% in Fiji. Rates of trichiasis and trichiasis surgeries suggest the possibility of blinding trachoma in the region.

Conclusion: The findings indicate that trachoma is present in all the Pacific Island countries screened. Further prevalence studies are required, and trachoma control measures should be considered.

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Footnotes

  • Competing interests: None.

  • Funding: The World Health Organization and the Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital.

  • Ethics approval: Ethics approval was provided by the Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital Human Research and Ethics Committee.

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