What is trachoma?
Trachoma is a disease caused by a contagious bacterial infection of the eye. It is commonly spread through contact with contaminated hands or clothing and by flies coming into contact with a person’s eyes or nose.
Trachoma often begins in early childhood and progresses over the years as episodes of reinfection, causing inflammation and scarring of the inner eyelid. In some people, repeated infection damages the eyelids, and the eyelashes turn inwards, painfully rubbing against the eye’s surface (a condition known as trichiasis). If left untreated, a series of complications can lead to irreversible blindness.
Trachoma is directly linked to poverty, and communities without access to clean water or effective sanitation are the most vulnerable to it. The disease has a devastating impact on livelihoods, as it limits access to education and prevents individuals from being able to work or care for themselves or their families.
People affected by trachoma165 million people live in areas endemic for trachoma in 2017 83.5 million people received antibiotics for trachoma in 2017 43 countries are endemic for trachoma in 2017
WHO NTD roadmap targets for trachoma
The World Health Organization’s roadmap on NTDs set out a comprehensive plan for the control, elimination and eradication of various neglected tropical diseases by 2020, including trachoma.
Trachoma target: Global elimination as a public health problem by 2020
Progress and scorecard from the 5th progress report
Countries that have eliminated trachoma
Seven countries have eliminated trachoma since 2012:
- Oman (2012)
- Morocco (2016)
- Mexico (2017)
- Cambodia (2017)
- Laos (2017)
- Nepal (2018)
- Ghana (2018)
- Iran (2018)
National coverage for people treated with antibiotics for trachoma
People treated with antibiotics for trachoma out of population living in known endemic areas that warrant treatment with antibiotics, facial cleanliness and environmental improvement for elimination of trachoma as a public health problem.
People receiving preventive chemotherapy for trachoma
Since the London Declaration was signed in 2012 and partners committed to defeating neglected tropical diseases, the number of people receiving preventive chemotherapy for trachoma has increased considerably.
- Data is provided by the World Health Organization
- Photo: © Sightsavers / Tom Saater