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Malawi first country in southern Africa to eliminate trachoma: WHO

  • Published
    29th Sep, 2022

Malawi has become the first country in southern Africa to eliminate trachoma as per the World Health Organization (WHO) report.

About Trachoma
  • Trachoma (truh-KOH-muh) is a bacterial infection that affects eyes.
  • It's caused by the bacterium Chlamydia trachomatis.
  • Trachoma is contagious, spreading through contact with the eyes, eyelids, and nose or throat secretions of infected people.
  • It can also be passed on by handling infected items, such as handkerchiefs.
  • It is one of the conditions known under neglected tropical diseases.
  • Symptoms:
  • Trachoma may cause mild itching and irritation of your eyes and eyelids. 
  • Swollen eyelids and pus draining from the eyes

The advanced form of trachoma is called trichiasis. Over time, if it’s not treated, trichiasis can lead to blindness.

Guidelines for Trachoma: WHO

The World Health Organization (WHO) has identified five stages in the development of trachoma:

  • Inflammation — follicular: The early infection has five or more follicles — small bumps that contain lymphocytes, a type of white blood cell — visible with magnification on the inner surface of your upper eyelid (conjunctiva).
  • Inflammation — intense: In this stage, your eye is now highly infectious and becomes irritated, with a thickening or swelling of the upper eyelid.
  • Eyelid scarring: Repeated infections lead to scarring of the inner eyelid. The scars often appear as white lines when examined with magnification. Your eyelid may become distorted and may turn in (entropion).
  • In-turned eyelashes (trichiasis): The scarred inner lining of your eyelid continues to deform, causing your lashes to turn in so that they rub on and scratch the transparent outer surface of your eye (cornea).
  • Corneal clouding (opacity): The cornea becomes affected by an inflammation that is most commonly seen under your upper lid. Continuous inflammation compounded by scratching from the in-turned lashes leads to clouding of the cornea.
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