National Trachoma Assessment in the Lao People's Democratic Republic in 2013-2014

Southisombath K, Sisalermsak S, Chansan P, Akkhavong K, Phommala S, Lewallen S, Courtright P, Solomon AW

PURPOSE

Population-based prevalence surveys were undertaken to determine whether trachoma is a public health problem in Laos requiring implementation of the SAFE strategy (surgery, antibiotics, facial cleanliness, environmental improvement).

METHODS

The country was divided into 19 evaluation units (EUs), each containing a population of roughly 100,000-350,000 people. Of these, 16 were believed most likely to harbor trachoma (based on historical evidence), and were mapped using the Global Trachoma Mapping Project methods. A 2-stage cluster sampling was used to sample approximately 1222 children aged 1-9 years in each EU, as well as all adults aged 15 years and older resident in households with children. The presence or absence of trachomatous inflammation - follicular (TF) and of trichiasis was documented in each subject, and prevalences (adjusted for age and sex) estimated.

RESULTS

The adjusted prevalence of TF in 1-9-year-olds ranged from 0.2% to 2.2% across the 16 EUs. Adjusted all-ages prevalence of trichiasis was 0.00% in 13 EUs, 0.06% in two EUs, and 0.12% in one EU. The trichiasis prevalence in adults in the last EU was 0.19%.

CONCLUSIONS

The assessment included all areas of Laos suspected of ever harboring trachoma and most of the rural population of the country. The low prevalence of TF and trichiasis do not warrant any special programs against trachoma at this time.