Guidelines for the public health management of trachoma in Australia

These guidelines have been produced by the Communicable Diseases Network Australia (CDNA) and detail recommendations to ensure consistent trachoma screening, control measures and data collection in Australia.

Page last updated: 07 March 2014

Please note that the 2006 Trachoma Guidelines have been updated and program delivery should now align with the CDNA National Guidelines for the Public Health Management of Trachoma released in January 2014.

Trachoma is a contagious infection of the eye by specific strains of the bacteria Chlamydia trachomatis. Recurrent trachoma infection can cause scarring of the eyelid and inturned eyelashes (trichiasis), which can result in blindness if not treated with surgery. Trachoma is known to be endemic in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander populations in some parts of the Northern Territory, South Australia and Western Australia.

These Guidelines were prepared by a consultant (Dr Donna Mak) in consultation with the Trachoma Steering Committee of the Communicable Disease Network Australia (CDNA). The Guidelines were endorsed by CDNA in September 2005.

The Guidelines available here provide information relevant to the needs of medical practitioners, primary health care professionals, and State/Territory and regional public health units. The Guidelines establish a minimum best-practice approach for the public health management of trachoma.

In December 2005, the Minister for Health, the Hon. Tony Abbott MHR announced a government commitment of $920,000 over the next three years. Funding will be allocated to establish a surveillance unit to monitor trachoma prevalence and control measures in regions where trachoma control activities are currently undertaken; and for essential training of health care workers to identify, treat and report incidences of trachoma.

The Guidelines for the public health management of trachoma in Australia was prepared by Communicable Diseases Network Australia and published by the Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing.

Synopsis

In line with its Vision 2020 initiative, the World Health Organization (WHO) has adopted a resolution to eliminate blinding trachoma by 2020. These guidelines provide recommendations to ensure consistent trachoma screening, control measures and data collection in Australia.

The guidelines recommend that trachoma control should be the responsibility of State and Territory government-run regional population health units and that data on trachoma is collected in accordance with a minimal national trachoma dataset and is reported to a national trachoma database. Monitoring of antibiotic resistance to treatment (azithromycin) is also recommended.

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