Estimate of the direct and indirect annual cost of bacterial conjunctivitis in the United States

BMC Ophthalmol. 2009 Nov 25:9:13. doi: 10.1186/1471-2415-9-13.


Background: The aim of this study was to estimate both the direct and indirect annual costs of treating bacterial conjunctivitis (BC) in the United States. This was a cost of illness study performed from a U.S. healthcare payer perspective.

Methods: A comprehensive review of the medical literature was supplemented by data on the annual incidence of BC which was obtained from an analysis of the National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey (NAMCS) database for the year 2005. Cost estimates for medical visits and laboratory or diagnostic tests were derived from published Medicare CPT fee codes. The cost of prescription drugs was obtained from standard reference sources. Indirect costs were calculated as those due to lost productivity. Due to the acute nature of BC, no cost discounting was performed. All costs are expressed in 2007 U.S. dollars.

Results: The number of BC cases in the U.S. for 2005 was estimated at approximately 4 million yielding an estimated annual incidence rate of 135 per 10,000. Base-case analysis estimated the total direct and indirect cost of treating patients with BC in the United States at $ 589 million. One- way sensitivity analysis, assuming either a 20% variation in the annual incidence of BC or treatment costs, generated a cost range of $ 469 million to $ 705 million. Two-way sensitivity analysis, assuming a 20% variation in both the annual incidence of BC and treatment costs occurring simultaneously, resulted in an estimated cost range of $ 377 million to $ 857 million.

Conclusion: The economic burden posed by BC is significant. The findings may prove useful to decision makers regarding the allocation of healthcare resources necessary to address the economic burden of BC in the United States.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Bacterial Infections / economics*
  • Conjunctivitis / epidemiology
  • Conjunctivitis / microbiology*
  • Health Care Costs*
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • United States / epidemiology