Face washing promotion for preventing active trachoma

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Evidence from one trial suggests that face washing can be effective in increasing facial cleanliness and in reducing severe trachoma, but its effect in reducing active trachoma is inconclusive. In another trial, there was no evidence of effect of face washing alone or in combination with tetracycline in reducing active trachoma in children with already established disease.

Face washing is part of the ‘SAFE’ strategy (surgery, antibiotics, facial cleanliness, and environmental improvement) promoted by the WHO programme for the global elimination of trachoma. Face washing should reduce the number of eye-seeking flies and transmission of the trachoma organism from person-to-person. This review assesses the effects of face washing on the prevalence of active trachoma in endemic communities.

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