PURPOSE. To observe the spatial distribution of households with high loads of ocular chlamydia infection in children, before and after mass treatment with azithromycin to determine whether there exists spatial clustering of households with high loads of infection and the spatial scale of the clustering. METHODS. All residents of a village in Tanzania were invited to participate in the study. A global positioning system unit recorded the location of each house. Mass treatment with azithromycin was offered, with participation above 80%. Active trachoma and swab samples of the conjunctiva were assessed at baseline and at 2, 6, 12, and 18 months after treatment. A k-function analysis was performed to detect clustering of households with high loads of ocular chlamydia in children younger than 8 years. RESULTS. A total of 1055 villagers were examined during the study; of these, 374 (35.4%) were children younger than 8 years. The total number of households was 215, with 182 (84.6%) households having at least one child. K-function analysis showed clustering of households with high loads of ocular chlamydia at distances up to 2 kilometers (km) at baseline; at 6 months, slight clustering existed within 0.5 km. At 12 and 18 months, high load households clustered at distances up to 1.3 km. CONCLUSIONS. This analysis suggests that infection spreads between households with children or that nearby households share the same risk factors for infection. Mass treatment has value in lowering infection prevalence within the community, and clustering of households with infection takes up to 1 year to reemerge at the same level as baseline. Re-treatment at yearly intervals may interrupt spread of infection.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Sensory Systems
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience