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Eliminating Eye Infection With Antibiotics

A deadly eye infection can now be virtually eliminated by a one-time treatment with an antibiotic say researchers according // to a recent study . Researchers studied a community in Tanzania where the bacterial infection trachoma was running rampant. At the beginning of the study, nearly 10 percent of the population was infected with the bacteria, which causes repeated symptoms that can eventually lead to scarring of the cornea and blindness.

However researchers wanted to evaluate how well a standard practice aimed at eliminating the infection in a community works. The practice calls for everyone in a community where the infection is endemic to be treated with an oral dose of azithromycin. Researchers treated nearly 98 percent of the people living in the community with the medication or, if they could not tolerate the drug, with a tetracycline eye ointment. Researchers measured results over the next two years by testing residents for evidence of the bacteria.

Results showed the treatment was overwhelmingly effective. By the two year follow-up, prevalence of trachoma in the community decreased to less than 1 percent. Thus researchers say their results are extremely encouraging but they say that further research is needed to find an accurate and inexpensive test to determine the prevalence of trachoma in any given community so antibiotics can be directed to the places most in need.

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