If you've been treated for trachoma with antibiotics or surgery, reinfection is always a concern. For your protection and for the safety of others, be sure that family members or others you live with are screened and, if necessary, treated for trachoma.

Trachoma can occur worldwide but is more common in the Middle East, North Africa, sub-Saharan Africa, and areas of southern Asia and China. When in regions where trachoma is common, take extra care in practicing good hygiene, which can help prevent infection.

Proper hygiene practices include:

  • Face washing and hand-washing. Keeping faces clean may help break the cycle of reinfection.
  • Controlling flies. Reducing fly populations can help eliminate a major source of transmission.
  • Proper waste management. Properly disposing of animal and human waste can reduce breeding grounds for flies.
  • Improved access to water. Having a fresh water source nearby can help improve hygienic conditions.

No trachoma vaccine is available, but prevention is possible. The World Health Organization (WHO) has developed a strategy to prevent trachoma, with the goal of eliminating it by 2020. The strategy, titled SAFE, involves:

  • Surgery to treat advanced forms of trachoma
  • Antibiotics to treat and prevent the infection
  • Facial cleanliness
  • Environmental improvements, particularly in water, sanitation and fly control
Aug. 21, 2015