By NewsDesk  @infectiousdiseasenews

On Monday, the World Health Organization (WHO) validated China as having eliminated trachoma as a public health problem.

Image/Robert Herriman

China began implementing mass trachoma control in the late 1940s.

In 1999, WHO held a national workshop on the assessment and management of trachoma, as it was thought to still be present in some parts of the country. Subsequently, the WHO-recommended SAFE strategy (Surgery for inturned eyelashes, Antibiotics to clear infection, Facial cleanliness, and Environmental improvement to limit transmission) was successfully adopted in the remaining endemic areas. China’s rapid development also resulted in huge improvements in public health and sanitation, including in rural areas.

Trachoma is the leading infectious cause of blindness worldwide. This is definitely a disease of the poor with poverty, poor personal hygiene and crowded living conditions being a few of the main factors contributing to its spread. It is also more commonly found in areas where the climate is dusty and dry.

The infectious agent is transmitted person to person through contact with eye or nasal discharges on fingers and indirectly through the use of contaminated items such as towels, pillows and clothes items like a mother’s shawl.

Flies are also a carrier of the contaminated discharge from person to person after feeding on the eye discharge of an infected person.