Trachoma:a leading communicable disease causing blindness.

3 months ago Rishita Raj 1

Trachoma is an infectious eye disease caused by the bacterium Chlamydia trachomatis, is one of the oldest disease affecting the people worldwide.It is a communicable disease caused by both direct and indirect contact with the affected person’s eye or nose.The indirect contact includes flies/insects coming contact with the affected person, using handkerchiefs/clothing of affected person etc are the routes of transmission of this disease.The eye discharge provides the major passage for micro-organisms from one to another.

Chlamydia trachomatis bacterium is also responsible for other disorders such as chlamydia, pelvic inflammatory diseases, pneumonia etc.

Trachoma spreads mostly in poverty-ridden states.Lack of cleanliness, living in crowded households, inadequate drinking water, and poor sanitation leads the way for this disease.The proper health education, improving access to clean water and sanitation, providing antibiotic medications (such as azithromycin, tetracycline etc) at the initial stages, maintaining facial cleanliness reduces the chance of getting infected and the surgery at an active stage help to vanish this infectious disease from the environment.

An individual’s immune system eliminates the single episode of infection, but re-acquaintance of this infection occurs frequently.The frequency and rate of getting infected depend on the age of the individual.It is seen that the disease easily spreads amongst children(especially pre-school children) than adults and then gets transmitted easily to their caretakers(usually the mother).They are the primary hosts of the disease.THE RECOVERY FROM TRACHOMA IS IRREVERSIBLE.

Initially, the individual experiences the symptoms similar to that of conjunctivitis, or irritation as like in ‘pink eye’.It involves continuous watery discharges and inflammation.The upper eyelid gets scarred that turns it inward and causes them to rub against the eyeball, which causes severe pain, and if untreated leads to loss of vision or blindness.It has an incubation period of about 5-12 days.

Symptoms of trachoma include : Sensitivity to bright light, watery discharge from eyes, swelling of lymph nodes in front ears, increased heart rates etc.

A stage in trachoma when upper eyelid gets scarred in trachoma

According to World Health Organisation(WHO), about 15% of the blindness among mankind is caused by trachoma, which comes second after cataract.Worldwide, approximately 6 million peoples are affected.The eliminating strategy is described by the acronym “SAFE”: Surgery for advanced disease, Antibiotics to clear Chlymdia trachomatis infection, Facial cleanliness and Environmental improvement to reduce transmission.

At last stage of infection, surgery for inturned eyelashes is required to eliminate the disease.

IN 1993, WHO acquired SAFE strategy.

In 1996, under GET2020 WHO launched the WHO Alliance for the Global Elimination of Trachoma by 2020 which is mostly aimed at implementing partners, acknowledging the challenges in achieving global elimination targets – increasing coverage, refining intervention strategies and so forth.WHO and its partners are working on SAFE strategies in endemic countries to fight against this disease.