Background/aims: An epidemiological study carried out in 2006 indicated the existence of a high prevalence of blinding trachoma in the Kolofata Health District, Far North Region, Cameroon. As a result, the national blindness control program of Cameroon instituted a trachoma elimination programme using the SAFE strategy.
Methods: A campaign to treat the entire district population with azithromycin 1.5% eye drops was undertaken in February, 2008. To measure the effectiveness of treatment on the prevalence of active trachoma, two epidemiological studies were conducted on a representative sample of children aged between 1 and 10 years. The first study was performed just prior to the treatment campaign and the second study was performed one year later.
Results: The prevalence of active forms of trachoma (TF + TF/TI) dropped from 31.5% (95%CI 26.4-37.5) before treatment to 6.3% (95%CI 4.1-9.6) one year after treatment; a reduction of nearly 80%.
There were no reports of serious or systemic side effects. Tolerance was excellent. No treatment was interrupted.
Conclusion: Mass treatment with azithromycin 1.5% eye drops is therefore feasible, well tolerated, and effective.