Facial cleanliness and risk of trachoma in families

Arch Ophthalmol. 1991 Jun;109(6):855-7. doi: 10.1001/archopht.1991.01080060119038.


Trachoma is the leading infectious cause of blindness worldwide, and epidemiologic studies of factors that may increase the transmission of ocular Chlamydia trachomatis are needed. In two villages in a hyperendemic area of Central Tanzania, 472 (90%) of 527 preschool-aged children were examined for specific signs of unclean faces and presence of trachoma. The odds of trachoma were 70% higher in children with flies and nasal discharge on their faces. Other facial signs were not important. In large families, the odds of trachoma increased 4.8-fold if a sibling had trachoma and 6.8-fold if a sibling had trachoma and an unclean face. Health education strategies aimed at improving face washing need to target cleaning nasal discharge and keeping flies off children's faces.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Face
  • Humans
  • Hygiene*
  • Infant
  • Observer Variation
  • Random Allocation
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Risk Factors
  • Rural Population
  • Tanzania / epidemiology
  • Trachoma / epidemiology*