Profound and Sustained Reduction in Chlamydia trachomatis in The Gambia: A Five-Year Longitudinal Study of Trachoma Endemic Communities.


Burton, MJ; Holland, MJ; Makalo, P; Aryee, EA; Sillah, A; Cohuet, S; Natividad, A; Alexander, ND; Mabey, DC; Bailey, RL; (2010) Profound and Sustained Reduction in Chlamydia trachomatis in The Gambia: A Five-Year Longitudinal Study of Trachoma Endemic Communities. PLoS neglected tropical diseases, 4 (10). e835. ISSN 1935-2727 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pntd.0000835

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Abstract

BACKGROUND: The elimination of blinding trachoma focuses on controlling Chlamydia trachomatis infection through mass antibiotic treatment and measures to limit transmission. As the prevalence of disease declines, uncertainty increases over the most effective strategy for treatment. There are little long-term data on the effect of treatment on infection, especially in low prevalence settings, on which to base guidelines. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: The population of a cluster of 14 Gambian villages with endemic trachoma was examined on seven occasions over five years (baseline, 2, 6, 12, 17, 30 and 60 months). Mass antibiotic treatment was given at baseline only. All families had accessible clean water all year round. New latrines were installed in each household after 17 months. Conjunctival swab samples were collected and tested for C. trachomatis by PCR. Before treatment the village-level prevalence of follicular trachoma in 1 to 9 year olds (TF(%1-9)) was 15.4% and C. trachomatis was 9.7%. Antibiotic treatment coverage was 83% of the population. In 12 villages all baseline infection cleared and few sporadic cases were detected during the following five years. In the other two villages treatment was followed by increased infection at two months, which was associated with extensive contact with other untreated communities. The prevalence of infection subsequently dropped to 0% in these 2 villages and 0.6% for the whole population by the end of the study in the absence of any further antibiotic treatment. However, several villages had a TF(%1-9) of >10%, the threshold for initiating or continuing mass antibiotic treatment, in the absence of any detectable C. trachomatis. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: A single round of mass antibiotic treatment may be sufficient in low prevalence settings to control C. trachomatis infection when combined with environmental conditions, which suppress transmission, such as a good water supply and sanitation.

Item Type: Article
Faculty and Department: Faculty of Infectious and Tropical Diseases > Dept of Clinical Research
Faculty of Epidemiology and Population Health > Dept of Infectious Disease Epidemiology
Research Centre: Neglected Tropical Diseases Network
Tropical Epidemiology Group
The International Centre for Evidence in Disability
International Centre for Eye Health
PubMed ID: 20957147
Web of Science ID: 283559600008
URI: http://researchonline.lshtm.ac.uk/id/eprint/2509

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