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February 4, 1961

Trachoma Among Southwestern Indians

JAMA. 1961;175(5):405-406. doi:10.1001/jama.1961.63040050011021c

TRACHOMA is one of the most widespread infections in the world today, affecting an estimated 15 per cent of the population of the earth,1 and is a major cause of blindness in Asia, the Middle East, and Africa. In the United States the disease was formerly prevalent in the white population of the so-called "trachoma belt," which extended from West Virginia to Missouri and Arkansas, and in the Indians of the West. Recent reports have suggested that trachoma has all but disappeared from the white population and is rapidly becoming extinct among the Indians.2, 3 This report deals with the findings of recent trachoma surveys among the Indians of New Mexico and Arizona.

Trachoma is a chronic keratoconjunctivitis caused by a virus of the psittacosis-lymphogranuloma venereum group which has only recently been isolated.4-6 The virus grows on the epithelium of the conjunctiva and presumably produces changes in