Mass drug administration of azithromycin for trachoma reduces the prevalence of genital Chlamydia trachomatis infection in the Solomon Islands

19 May 2016
Marks M, Bottomley C, Tome H, Pitakaka R, Butcher R, Sokana O, Kako H, Solomon AW, Mabey DC,

Objectives Chlamydia trachomatis is the most common bacterial sexually transmitted infection and is frequently asymptomatic; ocular C. trachomatis strains cause trachoma. Mass drug administration (MDA) of azithromycin for trachoma might also reduce the prevalence of genital C. trachomatis. In a survey conducted in the Solomon Islands in 2014, prior to MDA, the prevalence of genital C. trachomatis was 20.3% (95% CI 15.9% to 25.4%). We conducted a survey to establish the impact of MDA with azithromycin on genital C. trachomatis.

Methods Women attending three community outpatient clinics, predominantly for antenatal care, 10 months after MDA with azithromycin given for trachoma elimination, were enrolled in this survey. Self-taken high vaginal swabs were for C. trachomatisand Neisseria gonorrhoeae using the BD Probetec strand displacement assay.

Results 298 women were enrolled. C. trachomatis infection was diagnosed in 43 women (14.4%, 95% CI 10.6% to 18.9%) and N. gonorrhoeae in 9 (3%, 95% CI 1.4% to 5.7%). The age-adjusted OR for C. trachomatis infection was consistent with a significant decrease in the prevalence of C. trachomatis following MDA (OR 0.58, 95% CI 0.37 to 0.94, p=0.027). There was no change in the prevalence of N. gonorrhoeae between following MDA (OR 0.51, 95% CI 0.22 to 1.22, p=0.13).

Conclusions This study demonstrated a 40% reduction in the age-adjusted prevalence of genital C. trachomatis infection following azithromycin MDA for trachoma elimination.