Epidemiology and control of trachoma in the state of Ceará, Northeast Brazil, 2007-2021
ABSTRACT Background: To analyze the epidemiology, surveillance, and control strategies for trachoma in the state of Ceará, northeast Brazil, from 2007 to 2021. Methods: This ecological study was based on secondary data from the Information System on Notifiable Diseases of the Secretary of Health of the state of Ceará. Data from school and home surveys for trachoma detection obtained during the study period were analyzed, the percentage of positivity was estimated, and sociodemographic and clinico-epidemiological factors were investigated. Results: The coverage of trachoma surveillance and control actions in Ceará municipalities increased from 12.5% in 2007 to 55.9% in 2019, but with an average restriction of 8.0% during the COVID-19 pandemic. The estimated trachoma positivity (mean overall positivity) was less than 5.0% (2.76%, 95% CI 1.2-5.2), with a higher proportion of cases in the 5-9-year age group (45.0%, 95% CI 44.6-45.4), in females (53.2%, 95% CI 52.8-53.6), and rural areas (52.6%, 95% CI 52.2-53.0). Positivity above 10.0% was observed in the Litoral Leste/Jaguaribe and Sertão Central regions, with a higher occurrence of the follicular inflammatory clinical form (98.1%, 95% CI 98.0-98.2). Conclusions: Trachoma remains in the state of Ceará and is likely underreported. Despite recent advances, the fragility of health surveillance activities compromises the recognition of the actual magnitude and distribution of trachoma in the state. Accurate information is fundamental for planning, monitoring, and evaluating surveillance and disease control.