202764 Prevalence of Trachoma in three Ethiopian Refugee Camps

Monday, November 9, 2009: 8:35 AM

Jerry E. Vincent, OD MPH , Health Unit, International Rescue Committee, Chiang Mai, Thailand
Brett Sutton, MBBS MPHTM , Regionial Surviellance Coordinator, International Rescue Committee Kenya & Ethiopia, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Bayleyegn Birhanu, RN , Vision 2020 Coordinator, International Rescue Committee Ethiopia, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Worku Mekonnen, MD , Department of Ophthalmology, Jimma University, Jimma, Ethiopia
Colleen Hardy, MPH , Health Unit, International Rescue Committee, Atlanta, GA
Trachoma, a Vision2020 priority, is a leading cause of blindness in Africa. We conducted a cross sectional survey of Trachoma infection and Trichiasis in Shimelba, Sherkole and KebriBeyah refugee camps of Ethiopia in 2008. We used a two-stage proportionate to population size cluster sampling methodology in Sherkole and Kebrebyah and a systematic sampling methodology (every 5th household) in the very orderly Shimelba camp. We calculated sample sizes of 254 households in Kebrebyah, 493 households in Shimelba and 338 households in Sherkole. Participation rates ranged from 76.7% in Shimelba to 84.6% in Sherkole. Qualified ophthalmic nurses were specifically trained to use WHO Trachoma diagnostic criteria in conducting this study.

Rates of Trachoma infections in children ages 1-9 were 4.8% in Sherkole (95%CI=2.2%-7.4%); 6.4% in Kebrebyah (95%CI=3.5%-9.4%) and 12.2% in Shimelba (95%CI=8.6%-16.6%). Trichiasis rates in adults age 15 and up were 1.5% in Sherkole (95%CI=0.1%-2.8%); 2.4% in Shimelba (95%CI=1.5%-3.8%) and 3.2% in Kebrebyah (95%CI=1.5%-4.9%).

The rates of Trachoma infection were lower than expected in all camps, while rates of Trichiasis, which is a reflection of Trachoma infection in the past, were about as expected. Our interpretation of these findings is that these refugees probably originated from areas where rates of Trachoma infections were high (which is responsible for the current rates of Trichiasis) but that the current rates of Trachoma infection in children is now moderate due to the availability of water and latrines.

Provision of water, latrines and other environmental health measures are an important component to the control of Trachoma.

Learning Objectives:
Listeners will be able to Discuss rates of trachoma infection and trichiasis among refugees in Ethiopia.

Keywords: Infectious Diseases, Refugees

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have worked in refugee eye care for 20 years
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.