Trachoma among the Yanomami Indians

J. S. Paula, N. H. Medina, A. A.V. Cruz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


The Yanomami are one of the last primitive groups of Indians living in Brazil. They have almost no contact with other cultures. The epidemiology of eye disease among Yanomami is virtually unknown. For the first time, a trachoma survey was conducted among Yanomami Indians in the State of Amazonas near the Venezuelan border of the Brazilian rain forest. Ophthalmic examination was carried out on a total of 613 individuals (338 males and 275 females) from eight Yanomami villages along the Marauiá River located in the upper Rio Negro Basin. Age was classified into three categories (children, adults, and elderly) and trachoma was classified into five grades: follicular, inflammatory intense, cicatricial, trichiasis, and corneal opacity. Trachoma was endemic in all villages visited. Overall, 30.3% of the subjects had trachoma. Females were significantly more affected (37.4%) than males (23.9%). The inflammatory trachoma rate reached 24.9% in children and the cicatricial form increased with age, reaching 13.9% among adults and 35.21% among the elderly. Trichiasis or corneal opacities were not detected and treatment of the entire population was initiated with 1 g azithromycin. The detection of endemic trachoma among the Yanomami is relevant for the understanding of the epidemiology of this disease in the Brazilian rain forest and underscores the necessity for a program of trachoma control in this region.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1153-1157
Number of pages5
JournalBrazilian Journal of Medical and Biological Research
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1 2002
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics
  • Biophysics
  • General Neuroscience
  • Biochemistry
  • Physiology
  • Cell Biology
  • Immunology


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