Risk of trachoma in a SAFE intervention area.
To determine prevalence and risk factors of trachoma in communities receiving intervention with the SAFE strategy (surgery, antibiotic, face washing, environmental hygiene), a cross-sectional trachoma survey was undertaken in 2006 in the Enemor district of southern Ethiopia where the SAFE program has been implemented for over five years. A sample of 374 household heads and 2,080 individuals were interviewed and examined for trachoma using an established trachoma grading system of the World Health Organization. The most prominent risk factors were identified with logistic regression analysis. Among individuals >14 years of age, the prevalence of trichiasis was 9.04 % [confidence interval (CI) 7.4-10.6]. People >40 years of age [odds ratio (OR) 1.7; CI 1.2-2.7), women (OR 2.2; CI 1.1-4.3), and illiterates (OR 3; CI 1.4-6.8) had increased risk of trichiasis. Coverage of surgical and antibiotic services was 46 and 85.5 %, respectively. Prevalence of active follicular trachoma (TF) in children aged 1-9 years was 33.1 % (CI 29.4-37.1). Unclean faces (OR 5.9; CI 4.3-8.3) and not being in school (OR 2.1; CI 1.3-3.3) were significantly associated with TF. Clean faces were observed in 56.1 % of children and improved with age and schooling (P < 0.001, Chi-squared test). Household latrine use (74.4 %) was associated with knowledge about SAFE and economic level (P ≤ 0.004, Chi-squared tests). Elderly illiterate women remain at risk of becoming blind from trachoma even in intervention areas. Trachoma particularly affects children without clean faces or opportunity for schooling. Provision of SAFE services with high coverage should be sustained in trachoma-hyperendemic areas.