Key trachoma facts and statistics

ICTC strongly encourages its members and all trachoma stakeholders to use these figures for consistency of messaging.

  • Trachoma is the world’s leading infectious cause of blindness and one of 20 neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) that affect over one billion of the world’s poorest people - WHO 2017

  • Nearly 182 million people live in trachoma endemic areas and are at risk of trachoma blindness - GET2020 Alliance datasheet
  • It is known to be a public health problem in 39 countries, and is responsible for the blindness or visual impairment of about 1.9 million people - WHO trachoma factsheet, April 2017*
  • 3.2 million people need surgery to avoid blindness because of trachoma - WHO Alliance for GET2020 Database, 1 March 2016

  • In 2016, more than 260 000 people received surgical treatment for advanced trachoma, and 86 million people were treated with antibiotics. Global-level antibiotic coverage was 47%, a considerable increase compared to the 29% coverage achieved in 2015  - WHO trachoma factsheet, April 2017
  • Eliminating trachoma will cost around US$1 billion dollars, of which US$200-300 million is already committed  - ICTC cost estimates, 2016
  • Over 660 million Zithromax® antibiotic treatments have been shipped since 1999 - ITI/Pfizer 2017
  • More than 60% of the global surgical backlog exists in 6 countries - WHO Alliance for GET2020 Database, 1 March 2016
  • There are more than 75 million people living in trachoma-endemic areas in Ethiopia, the largest number of any country in the world. The backlog of people who urgently need eyelid surgery to prevent blindness in Ethiopia stands at over 693,000 – again, the largest number of any country in the world  - WHO Alliance for GET2020 Database, 1 March 2016

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WHO's Weekly Epidemiological Record (WER) also serves as an essential instrument for dissemination of epidemiological information. 

 *Since the WHO trachoma factsheet, April 2017 was published Cambodia and the Lao People's Democratic Republic have been validated for eliminating trachoma