Trachoma is the leading infectious cause of blindness worldwide and data are needed on the epidemiological characteristics of active and residual disease in hyperendemic areas. This study describes the epidemiological characteristics of trachoma in Central Tanzania. Active, inflammatory disease peaks in pre-school children, with 60% showing signs of trachoma. Evidence of past infection, scarring, trichiasis, and corneal opacity, rose with age. In this population, 8% of those over age 55 had trichiasis/entropion. Females of all ages had more trachoma than males, with a fourfold increased risk of trichiasis observed in females. Women who were taking care of children appeared to have more active disease than non-caretakers. Clear evidence of clustering of trachoma by village, and within village, by neighbourhood was found. Clustering persisted even after accounting for differences in distance to water, local religion, and proportion of children with unclean faces.These findings have important implications for a trachoma control strategy.
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