Trachoma and antibiotic use: the 'A' in SAFE

Expert Rev Anti Infect Ther. 2012 Jan;10(1):75-83. doi: 10.1586/eri.11.150.


Trachoma, a chronic conjunctivitis caused by Chlamydia trachomatis, is the leading infectious cause of blindness worldwide. In recognition of this public health problem, the World Health Assembly has targeted the year 2020 to eliminate blinding trachoma, and a multifaceted strategy (SAFE) is recommended, including antibiotics for treatment of infection. Trachoma is a disease of entire communities, and the pool of infection resides largely in preschool age children. Thus, for endemic communities, mass treatment with antibiotics annually for at least 3-5 years is carried out. The antibiotics used, the effectiveness of this approach, and the challenges of antibiotic treatment of communities are discussed, concluding with a view towards the elimination of trachoma in the future.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Blindness / epidemiology
  • Blindness / microbiology
  • Blindness / prevention & control
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Chlamydia trachomatis / drug effects
  • Disease Eradication
  • Disease Reservoirs / microbiology
  • Humans
  • Preventive Health Services
  • Trachoma / drug therapy*
  • Trachoma / epidemiology
  • Trachoma / prevention & control
  • World Health Organization


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents