Reports and publications (published elsewhere)

Trachoma surveillance report 2009

Posted on: 10 January, 2011
Issue: Vol 11 No 1, January 2011 – March 2011
Related to Eye health

Adams K, Burgess J, Dharmage S (2010)
Trachoma surveillance report 2009
Melbourne: National Trachoma Surveillance and Reporting Unit

This is the fourth surveillance report compiled for the National Trachoma Surveillance and Reporting Unit (NTSRU) by the Centre for Molecular, Environmental, Genetic and Analytic Epidemiology at the School of Population Health, University of Melbourne.

The report compares the 2009 data with results from the screenings in 2006, 2007 and 2008. It comments on the implementation of the Communicable Disease Network Australia (CDNA) guidelines’ Minimum best-practice approach. The CDNA guidelines are based on the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) SAFE strategy: Surgery (for trichiasis), Antibiotic treatment, Facial Cleanliness and Environmental improvement. The WHO aims at eliminating blinding trachoma by 2020. Australia is the only developed nation where trachoma is present.

The focus of the report is data for Aboriginal children aged 1 to 9 years, across 15 regions and 289 communities in the Northern Territory, South Australia and Western Australia. Main messages from the report are:

  • Endemic trachoma remains a major public health problem among Indigenous Australians, detected in 60% of the communities surveyed.
  • The prevalence of trachoma across Australia has not changed over the four years.
  • There is a large pool of undiagnosed and untreated trachoma among Indigenous children, with prevalence of 14%.
  • There is a lesser but still substantial pool of untreated trichiasis (in-turned eyelashes) among Indigenous adults, with prevalence of 4%.
  • There is some evidence that the SAFE intervention is having an impact on reducing trachoma prevalence in Western Australia.

Australian Indigenous HealthInfoNet abstract

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