Also known as ocular chlamydia, trachoma is a highly contagious bacterial infection of the eyes that can, under certain circumstances, cripple an entire community for generations. It is prevalent in countries where the infrastructure does not support the most basic necessities, such as free access to clean water. Approximately 232 million people are at risk of contracting trachoma, over 20 million of them are actively infected, and more than seven million have a severe visual impairment.
Chlamydia trachomatis is the bacteria that causes the most common type of chlamydia, that which affects the genitals. Depending on circumstances, it can affect the eyes instead. There are about 15 subspecies of C. trachomatis, named alpha-numerically from A to L3. D through K are the genital types that can cause a mild infection of the whites of the eyes, inclusion conjunctivitis. Subspecies A, B, Ba, and C cause the chronic ocular infection known as trachoma.
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