Nonocular chlamydia infection and risk of ocular reinfection after mass treatment in a trachoma hyperendemic area

S. West, Beatriz Munoz, L. Bobo, Thomas C Quinn, H. Mkocha, M. Lynch, B. B.O. Mmbaga, R. Viscidi

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40 Scopus citations


Purpose. The presence of nasal discharge on a child's face increases the risk of active trachoma, suggesting that Chlamydia trachomatis in nasal secretions may be a possible source of ocular reinfection. The prevalence of chlamydia in nasal secretions and the risk of reinfection after mass treatment was investigated in a hyperendemic area of Tanzania. Methods. In one village a total of 232 children aged 1 to 7 years were followed before and after mass treatment. Clinical trachoma, and microbiologic evidence of chlamydia, were assessed at baseline, 2 and 4 weeks into mass treatment, and 4 weeks after treatment stopped. The presence of chlamydia in ocular and nasal secretions was determined by polymerase chain reaction-enzyme immunoassay techniques. Results. Of the 232 children, 59% had clinical trachoma and 27% had nasal specimens positive for chlamydia. Children with positive ocular chlamydia specimens and/or clinical trachoma were significantly more likely to have positive nasal specimens. At the end of mass treatment, only 4% of children had positive ocular specimens. However, 1 month after treatment stopped, the incidence of new infection was 21%. The rate of new ocular infections in those who had negative ocular specimens after treatment was similar between those who had positive and those who had negative nasal specimens at baseline. Positive ocular specimens at baseline was not a predictor of risk of new infection after treatment (odds ratio = 1.18, 95% confidence interval = 0.58, 2.40), suggesting these new infections were not the result of latent or persistent organism. Conclusions. These data do not support a role for nasal secretions in causing reinfection after treatment. One mass topical treatment alone is unlikely to be effective in trachoma hyperendemic areas as shown by the rapid re-emergence of infection.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3194-3198
Number of pages5
JournalInvestigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science
Issue number11
StatePublished - 1993


  • chlamydia
  • infection
  • trachoma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology
  • Sensory Systems
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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