Until sulfanilamide was first used, in 1938, the treatment of trachoma was limited to such nonspecific and partially effective measures as cauterization with copper sulphate or silver nitrate. Except in our Indian population, however, the disease was on the wane in the United States before 1938, probably as a result of improved economic and sanitary conditions and a consequent elevation of personal hygiene in the subject populations. It is now generally accepted that trachoma is a disease of the family, and that infection usually occurs in preschool life by transfer from parents or siblings. Treatment programs limited to school children alone usually fail in the long run, since reinfection in the family almost invariably occurs.
In the United States trachoma is limited almost entirely, except for sporadic cases, to populations in whom a low level of personal hygiene is complicated by desert conditions, as in our southwestern Indian tribes, or
THYGESON P, DAWSON CR. Trachoma and Follicular Conjunctivitis in Children. Arch Ophthalmol. 1966;75(1):3-12. doi:10.1001/archopht.1966.00970050005003