Mass antibiotic treatment and community protection in trachoma control programs

Clin Infect Dis. 2004 Nov 1;39(9):e95-7. doi: 10.1086/424747. Epub 2004 Oct 6.


Azithromycin is highly effective against trachoma, but the practical difficulties of community-wide distribution often leave many individuals untreated. We demonstrate, after mass azithromycin treatment of a population in Ethiopia, an indirect protective effect that occurred among untreated children who resided in villages in which most individuals had been treated. Similarities with the indirect protection within a treated community (i.e., "herd protection") that has been observed in vaccination programs are discussed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Azithromycin / therapeutic use*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Communicable Disease Control / methods*
  • Ethiopia / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Logistic Models
  • Odds Ratio
  • Trachoma / epidemiology
  • Trachoma / prevention & control*


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Azithromycin