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April 13, 1964


JAMA. 1964;188(2):173. doi:10.1001/jama.1964.03060280075016

Trachoma, one of the oldest and most widespread diseases, remains the world's primary cause of blindness. It is estimated that 500 million persons, one sixth of the world's population, are afflicted. This infectious disease of the eye is particularly important to many of the developing countries, where the incidence is high and blindness in young adults results in serious economic loss. Although trachoma can be cured by several antibiotics and sulfa drugs, attempts to eliminate the disease through mass antibiotic campaigns have shown success only in the more developed countries. Often the prolonged therapy required and the frequency of relapse and reinfection have frustrated eradication efforts.

Research on trachoma has been retarded by the unavailability of the etiological agent for laboratory study. In the past five years, however, the virus has been readily isolated in a number of laboratories around the world, thereby generating considerable interest in the possibility of

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