Trachoma is the leading cause of blindness in the world, especially in undeveloped countries, due to its association with poor socioeconomic and sanitation conditions. This study aimed to estimate the prevalence of trachoma among students from the Jequitinhonha Valley, Minas Gerais, one of the poorest regions in Brazil, and to identify associated factors.
This is a cross-sectional study that utilized clinical evaluation and a socioeconomic questionnaire applied to a random and representative sample of elementary school students from the Jequitinhonha Valley, Minas Gerais, Brazil. Participants underwent conjunctival scraping and direct immunofluorescence was used to confirm the presence of the bacteria. Five or more elementary bodies in the conjunctival scrape was considered a positive result. In the study, 36.6% positive samples were detected. A culture of the conjunctival scrape, considered to be the “gold standard”, was not performed due to cost and complexity. Bivariate analyses were performed, followed by binary logistic regression analysis to define the associated variables.
In the present study, 478 students comprised the sample. The prevalence of trachoma was 6.3% and was higher among students who lived in unfinished houses (no plastering, painting, flooring, and unfinished bathrooms) (OR, 2.27; 95% CI, 1.12-6.48) without sewage systems (OR = 9.49; 95% CI = 3.52-25.60) and studied in rural areas (OR, 3.37; 95% CI, 1.53-7.35).
The prevalence of trachoma among the students aged 7 to 16 years old, from public and private schools, is not negligible and is especially associated with inadequate living conditions.