155 million people live in areas endemic for blinding trachoma and it is a public health problem in Asia, the Americas, Australia and the Middle East. 90% of those affected live in Africa.

Blinding 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.

Blinding trachoma often begins in early childhood and progresses over the years due to episodes of reinfection, causing inflammation and scarring of the inner eyelid. In some people, repeated infection damages the eyelids, causing the eyelashes to turn inwards and to painfully rub against the eye’s surface (a condition known as trichiasis).

If left untreated, a series of complications can lead to irreversible blindness. Blinding trachoma is directly linked to poverty; communities without access to clean water or effective sanitation are the most vulnerable. The disease has a devastating impact on livelihoods because it limits access to education and prevents individuals from being able to work or care for themselves or their families.

155 million people live in areas endemic for blinding trachoma in 2020 32 million people received antibiotics for blinding trachoma in 2020
Source: WHO data 2019
37 countries* are endemic for blinding trachoma in 2020
Source: WHO data 2020
*Endemic countries moved to post-treatment surveillance stage are not included in total.

Countries that have eliminated blinding trachoma

12 countries have eliminated blinding trachoma since 2012:

  • Oman (2012)
  • Morocco (2016)
  • Mexico (2017)
  • Cambodia (2017)
  • Laos (2017)
  • Nepal (2018)
  • Ghana (2018)
  • Iran (2018)
  • China
  • Myanmar (2020)
  • Gambia (2021)
  • Saudi Arabia (2022)

Status of elimination of trachoma as a public health problem, 2021

People receiving preventive chemotherapy for blinding 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 blinding trachoma has increased considerably.

Data is provided by the World Health Organization