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Time trends and heterogeneity in the disease burden of trachoma, 1990–2019: a global analysis


Purpose To evaluate the epidemiological trends and associated risk factors of disease burden due to trachoma.

Methods Data for the country-specific disability-adjusted life year (DALY) number, rate and age-standardised rate of trachoma together with related data of other common eye diseases were acquired from the Global Burden of Disease Study 2019 database. The Socio-Demographic Index (SDI), Human Development Index (HDI), inequality-adjusted HDI and other related indices were obtained from published data or publicly available databases. Regression analyses were conducted to evaluate the associations between potential risk factors and the age-standardised DALY burden of trachoma.

Results The global DALY burden due to trachoma decreased by 37% from 1990 to 2019 and decreased by 69.8% after adjusting for age and population growth, and, in available 1990–2019 data, had the greatest reduction in attributable DALYs of all common eye disease, with the others analysed being cataract, glaucoma, refractive disorders and age-related macular degeneration. Women had higher age-standardised DALY burden due to trachoma than men (p<0.001). The African region (p<0.001) had the heaviest burden among global regions. The age-standardised DALY rate was higher in countries with lower income (p<0.001) and lower SDI (p<0.001). Higher disease burden due to trachoma was associated with lower HDI (β=−48.102, 95% CI −86.888 to −9.316, p=0.016), lower SDI (β=−48.063, 95% CI −83.702 to −12.423, p<0.001) and lower expected years of schooling (β=−2.352, 95% CI −3.756 to −0.948, p=0.002).

Conclusions The global disease burden due to trachoma decreased from 1990 to 2019 and it had the greatest reduction compared with other common eye diseases. Lower HDI, socioeconomic status and educational level were related to a higher national disease burden of trachoma. Our findings could provide necessary information for trachoma control and prevention.

  • epidemiology
  • infection
  • public health

Data availability statement

Data are available upon reasonable request. -.

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