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Trachoma in the Pacific Islands: Evidence from Trachoma Rapid Assessment
  1. Anu Anna Mathew (mathewa{at}unimelb.edu.au),
  2. Jill E Keeffe (jillek{at}unimelb.edu.au),
  3. Richard T Le Mesurier (rtlm{at}unimelb.edu.au),
  4. Hugh R Taylor (h.taylor{at}unimelb.edu.au)
  1. Centre for Eye Research Australia, Australia
  2. Centre for Eye Research Australia, Australia
  3. Centre for Eye Research Australia, Australia
  4. The University of Melbourne, Australia

    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 3,102 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 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 was 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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