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Trachoma mass treatment with azithromycin 1.5% eye drops in Cameroon: feasibility, tolerance and effectiveness
  1. Pierre Huguet1,
  2. Lucienne Bella2,
  3. Ellen Einterz3,
  4. Pablo Goldschmidt4,
  5. Philippe Bensaid5
  1. 1 World Health Organization, Switzerland;
  2. 2 Ministry of Health, Cameroon;
  3. 3 Kolofata District Service, Cameroon;
  4. 4 National Center of Ophthalmology of the Quinze-Vingts, France;
  5. 5 Ophtalmo Sans frontières, France
  1. * Corresponding author; email: p.huguet{at}laboratoires-thea.fr

Abstract

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.

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