Chlamydia on children and flies after mass antibiotic treatment for trachoma.
ABSTRACT There are various approaches to control trachoma. These include the elimination of the ocular strains of Chlamydia trachomatis that cause the disease and to decrease the spread of infection by other measures such as fly control. Here, we examined how these two are related (i.e., how treating children with antibiotics affects carriage of Chlamydia by flies). Flies were collected in villages that had received mass oral azithromycin distribution and were compared with flies in untreated villages. Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) was performed to detect chlamydial DNA on the flies. Conjunctival swabs were also taken to assay for chlamydial prevalence in the children. Chlamydia was found on 23% of the flies in the untreated villages but only 0.3% in treated villages. Prevalence of trachoma in children proved to be an excellent predictor of the prevalence on flies (correlation coefficient, 0.89). Thus, treating children with antibiotics may drastically reduce the role of flies as a vector.