Population-Based Trachoma Mapping in Six Evaluation Units of Papua New Guinea

Ophthalmic Epidemiol. 2016;23(sup1):22-31. doi: 10.1080/09286586.2016.1235715. Epub 2016 Nov 28.


Purpose: We sought to determine the prevalence of trachomatous inflammation - follicular (TF) in children aged 1-9 years, and trachomatous trichiasis (TT) in those aged ≥15 years, in suspected trachoma-endemic areas of Papua New Guinea (PNG).

Methods: We carried out six population-based prevalence surveys using the protocol developed as part of the Global Trachoma Mapping Project.

Results: A total of 19,013 individuals were sampled for inclusion, with 15,641 (82.3%) consenting to participate. Four evaluation units had prevalences of TF in children ≥10%, above which threshold the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends mass drug administration (MDA) of azithromycin for at least three years; Western Province (South Fly/Daru) 11.2% (95% confidence interval, CI, 6.9-17.0%), Southern Highlands (East) 12.2% (95% CI 9.6-15.0%), Southern Highlands (West) 11.7% (95% CI 8.5-15.3%), and West New Britain 11.4% (95% CI 8.7-13.9%). TF prevalence was 5.0-9.9% in Madang (9.4%, 95% CI 6.1-13.0%) and National Capital District (6.0%. 95% CI 3.2-9.1%) where consideration of a single round of MDA is warranted. Cases of TT were not found outside West New Britain, in which four cases were seen, generating an estimated population-level prevalence of TT in adults of 0.10% (95% CI 0.00-0.40%) for West New Britain, below the WHO elimination threshold of 0.2% of those aged ≥15 years.

Conclusion: Trachoma is a public health issue in PNG. However, other than in West New Britain, there are few data to support the idea that trachoma is a cause of blindness in PNG. Further research is needed to understand the stimulus for the active trachoma phenotype in these populations.

Keywords: Papua New Guinea; prevalence; trachoma; trachomatous inflammation – follicular; trachomatous trichiasis.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Hygiene / standards
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Papua New Guinea / epidemiology
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Factors
  • Sanitation / standards
  • Trachoma / epidemiology*
  • Trichiasis / epidemiology*
  • Water Supply / standards
  • Young Adult