Detection of C. trachomatis on eye swabs

Investigator: Julius Schachter, PhD
Sponsor: Carter Center, The

Location(s): Tanzania


Trachoma is a bacterial eye infection found in poor, isolated communities lacking basic hygiene, clean water, and adequate sanitation. The leading cause of preventable blindness, trachoma targeted for “elimination as a public health problem” by the year 2020.

To eliminate blinding trachoma, the World Health Organization emphasizes implementing the SAFE strategy, which includes annual mass drug administration (MDA) with azithromycin to the whole population of endemic districts. Prevalence surveys to assess impact at the district level are recommended after at least 3 years of intervention. The decision to stop MDA is based on a prevalence of trachomatous inflammation follicular (TF) among children aged 1–9 years.

This study informs the CDC's recommendations regarding screening tests to detect Chlamydia trachomatis. Those recommendations are intended for use by clinical laboratory directors, laboratory staff, clinicians, and disease control personnel who must choose among the multiple available tests, establish standard operating procedures for collecting and processing specimens, interpret test results for laboratory reporting, and counsel and treat patients.