Shedding of Chlamydia trachomatis in the eye secretion (tears) of patients with either hyperendemic trachoma or paratrachoma was studied. The method of collection of eye secretion with cellulose sponges is proved to be simple, faster, and more practicable and yielded a higher rate of chlamydial isolation than aspiration. The chlamydial isolation rates in eye secretion in chlamydia-positive paratrachoma patients in London or trachoma patients in Iran was 84 and 49% respectively. It was found that the chlamydial isolation rate from eye secretion is directly related to the number of inclusions present in the conjunctival swabbings. The results of this study indicated that patients with moderate to severe hyperendemic trachoma or paratrachoma are the main reservoir of infection. In the developing countries of the Middle East and Africa the shedding of chlamydia in the eye secretion of persons with these diseases is a major factor in the transmission of them by means of flies, fingers, towels, or bed clothes.
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