Prior studies have theorized that low chlamydial genetic diversity following mass azithromycin treatments for trachoma may create a population bottleneck that prevents the return of infection, but little empirical evidence exists to support this hypothesis. In this study, a singlemass azithromycin distribution was administered to 21 communities in theGurage Zone of Ethiopia in 2003. All children aged 1-5 years had conjunctival swabs performed before treatment and 2 and 6 months after treatment. All swabs positive for Chlamydia trachomatis at 2 months underwent typing of the gene encoding the major outer membrane protein (ompA) of C. trachomatis, as did the same number of swabs per community from the pretreatment and 6-month visits. Diversity of ompA types, expressed as the reciprocal of Simpson's index,was calculated for each community. In total, 15 ompA types belonging to the A and B genovars were identified. The mean diversity was 2.11 (95% confidence interval: 1.79, 2.43) before treatment and 2.16 (95% confidence interval: 1.76, 2.55) 2months after treatment (P = 0.78, paired t test). Diversity of ompA was not associated with the prevalence of ocular chlamydia (P = 0.76) and did not predict subsequent changes in the prevalence of ocular chlamydia (P = 0.32). This study found no evidence to support the theory that ompA diversity is associated with transmission of ocular chlamydia.
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