In the mid-2000s, researchers conducted a clinical trial in Ethiopia to see what it would take to eliminate trachoma, a disease caused by the bacterium Chlamydia trachomatis and the most common cause of blindness from infection worldwide. They randomly gave one- to 10-year-old kids either the antibiotic azithromycin to clear and prevent infection or delayed their treatment until after the trial ended.
There were far fewer cases of trachoma among those treated—but also fewer deaths, even though trachoma is not a lethal disease. “Those of us who study child health—specifically, child survival in sub-Saharan Africa—haven’t seen well-done trials showing such a striking mortality benefit in a really long time, so it’s very exciting,” says Patricia Pavlinac, an epidemiologist at the University of Washington.
Read the entire story at The Scientist.
Patricia Pavlinac, an Assistant Professor in the Department of Global Health, is quoted in this story.