Trachoma Germ


Trachoma is an infectious eye disease caused by the bacteria Chlamydia trachomatis.germ_01

In Australia trachoma is now only found in remote Aboriginal communities and still occurs in 2/3 of the outback where living conditions are not good, due to inappropriate structures, overcrowding, and issues with clean running water, electricity and rubbish collection. The lack of these facilities creates an environment where it is difficult to maintain good hygiene practices and increases the spread of trachoma and other infectious diseases.

It is mainly small children who have active trachoma; and if they have eye and nose secretions the infection is easily spread directly to other family members and friends while playing. Sleeping together and sharing bedding or towels also helps to spread the infection.

Without keeping faces clean the trachoma infection will be repeated over and over, leading to painful scarring under the eyelids. This causes the eyelashes to turn inward and damages the eyes further. Without treatment, trachoma can lead to blindness when people are older.

The main message is ‘washing faces and hands whenever they are dirty’ stops the spread of trachoma – CLEAN FACES = STRONG EYES




Trachoma is an eye sickness, caused by a bacteria germ that has been around since the dinosaurs.

It is an infection under the eyelid that can cause sore, itchy and sticky eyes in kids and later on, can cause in-turned eyelashes and blindness in adults

Trachoma is more common in young children who live in outback communities in crowded houses with things like broken taps and showers so children can’t shower or wash their faces and hands.


An Aboriginal Health Worker or nurse can flip your eyelids to see if you have trachoma – it looks like little dots under your eyelid and can make your eyes feel sore and itchy,

BUT, sometimes you don’t even know you have it. Trachoma doesn’t always cause sore eyes or other signs, so its very important for you to have your eyes checked regularly.


If kids don’t know they have trachoma, they may spread the trachoma germs to others without knowing,

AND if trachoma is not treated it can make people go blind when they are older.


The Aboriginal Health worker or nurse will give you medicine to treat trachoma.

If you or someone in your house has trachoma, then EVERYONE who lives and sleeps in your house needs trachoma medicine­­­­.


Ways to Stop Trachoma Sheet copied to A3 and put up on the whiteboard

Copy and enlarge Little Trachoma Germ Song for the whiteboard

One copy of the poem per person for circle reading

A copy of the Trachoma Song in A3 for the whiteboard

A blank A3 sheet of paper to add verses to the Trachoma Song

Further trachoma resources and information are available at











Using the background information, discuss the Trachoma germ and how it can lead to blindness if untreated. Explain the muck in the eyes and the snot in the nose hold germs and need to be regularly washed away from the face. Keeping our faces clean can stop Trachoma germs from spreading. Trachoma germs spread easily to other members of the family.

Read through the list of Ways to Stop Trachoma

Ask the students, “What is Trachoma?”


  • Clean snot from your nose, and muck from around the eyes
  • Look in the mirror to check if your face is clean
  • Wash your face and hands when they are dirty
  • Have a swim in the pool, waterhole or river
  • Keep things clean, clear up rubbish
  • Shoo away flies from your eyes
  • Wash blankets, clothes, pillows and towels
  • Teach your little brothers and sisters about keeping a clean face to stop trachoma germs spreading
  • Parents should encourage kids to have a shower each night

Put the students into circle reading groups of approximately 4. Students read through the Little Trachoma Germ poem, each taking turns.

Ask each group to discuss the answer to the following questions:

  • What is the poem about?
  • Who are the main characters in the poem?
  • What does ‘spreading through’ mean?
  • What does sight unseen mean?
  • Is Little Trachoma Germ a human, an animal or something else?
  • What does Little Trachoma Germ do to the child?
  • What happens to the Little Trachoma Germ and why?
  • When should you wash your face?
  • What else can you do to eradicate the Trachoma Germ?
  • If time allows, ask each group to number off 1, 2, 3, 4.

Number 1’s stand up and give the group answer to the first question. Number 2’s answer the second question etc. Each student has the opportunity to answer 2 questions on behalf of their team.

Points could be given to groups for each correct answer and extra points for unique ideas other groups did not mention.

Little Trachoma Germ

Little germ, little germ, where have you been?
I’ve been on you, little kid, sight unseen

Little germ, little germ what did you do?
I hid under your eyelid, spreading through

Little germ little germ that was quick
germ_01 I worked fast and made your eyes sick

Little germ little germ, what is wrong?
You washed your face, now I’m not strong

Little germ little germ, you’re fading fast
There’s no grot or snot left, so I won’t last

Little germ little germ, are you my friend?
No I’m not and I’m nearing the end

Little germ, little germ, I don’t like you
Your face stayed clean so now I’m through!

Download the Lyric Sheet Here


Read through the trachoma song. Ask students to use the Ways to Eradicate Trachoma list to help write another few verses. HINT: To make is easy, choose the last or second last verse and just change the first two lines.

Practice the new verses, learn the song

Follow up ideas:

  • Present the song to another class
  • Sing the song at a Parent Information Night
  • Video the students singing the song and play at school assembly
  • Set up a Health Expo and have the students video running in the background
  • Record the song and play instead of the school bell
  • Ask the students ways of getting the information out to the community

When your eyes are grotty,
Germs can sneak inside,
When your nose is snotty,
Germs can always hide.

Have you got a clean face?
Do your eyes have grot?
Have you got a clean face?
Did you clear the snot?

If your nose is runny,
Blow the snot away,
If your eyes are mucky,
Wash the germs away.

Have you got a clean face?
Do your eyes have grot?
Have you got a clean face?
Did you clear the snot?

Teach your bro and sister,
About a clean face,
To stop Trachoma germs,
Spreading ’round your place.

Have you got a clean face?
Do your eyes have grot?
Have you got a clean face?
Did you clear the snot?

Try and keep your face clean,
Shower every night,
You’ll kill the germs to win,
The Trachoma fight.

Download the Lyric Sheet Here


(Optional. 20 – 30 min activity)

Take the students to an undercover area and set up Germ Free.


Indoor / Undercover area

Equipment: One large mat (high jump mat or equivalent size) placed half way down the play area and off to one side.

4 or 6 smaller mats with half placed at opposite ends of the play area.

Coloured tags, bands or bibs. One colour for the “Germs” to wear and a second colour for the “Bacteria” to wear. (They need to be recognised as their specific role)

This game requires at least 8 students

8 students – 1 x Bacteria, 2 x Germs, 5 Healthy Kids

15 students – 2 x Bacteria, 3 x Germs, 10 Healthy Kids

25 students – 3 x Bacteria, 6 x Germs, 16 Healthy Kids

“Hospital” The large mat placed half way along the length of the area being used and off to one side.

“Bacteria” Students guarding the hospital. They must be within an arm’s reach of the hospital at all times (not to run around area) but cannot stand on mat.

“Germs” The people who chase others, they work with the bacteria to try and tag all the healthy kids (run around whole area)

“Healthy Kids” The free people who are not yet tagged or who have been rescued from hospital

“Sick Kids” The people who are caught or tagged by a “Germ.” They become sick and need to go to hospital. They wait on the big mat until they are rescued (better)

“Clean Zone” The pause or safe area, which are smaller mats placed at opposite ends of the area. Only used by “Healthy Kids”

Choose the appropriate number of Germs and Bacteria to be IT for the first game

(See the table above). Give different coloured tags to Germs and Bacteria to ensure the Healthy Kids can distinguish between them.

Each game different people are selected to take on the roles of Bacteria and Germs.

Bacteria move into position guarding the hospital. They must be within an arm’s reach of the hospital at all times.

The Germs stand in the middle of the space and count to 5 out loud whilst the Healthy Kids disperse. The Healthy Kids can use the Clean Zone mats at any time and must have 2 feet on the mat to be safe from being caught by a Germ. If they are on the mat with only 1 foot and are tagged they are considered caught and become sick kids.

When a Germ catches a Healthy Kid out of the Clean Zone he marches the Healthy Kid to the Hospital. Then the Germ continues to chase other Healthy Kids.

The Healthy Kid who is now in Hospital becomes a Sick Person and can only leave once a Healthy Kid tags them (rescues or cures them).

Healthy Kids attempt to rescue Sick Kids from hospital by running past and tagging them. Once a Sick Kid is rescued they try to leave Hospital without being tagged by a Bacteria who is guarding them. If tagged by Bacteria or Germs whilst attempting to get out of hospital, the Sick Kid returns and needs to once again be rescued (cured). If the Sick Kid makes it out of hospital, they become a Healthy Kid again.

Bacteria can tag any Healthy Kids running past as well as any Sick Kids attempting to leave hospital. Anyone the Bacteria tag go straight into Hospital. Bacteria must remain in close proximity to the Hospital.

The game can be timed and stops when the time runs out


The game ends when the Germs and Bacteria have caught all Healthy Kids and there is no-one left to rescue the Sick Kids in Hospital.

Play again and choose new students to be Bacteria and Germs.


At the end of the lesson / game discuss, whilst the students are stretching, how the game relates to real life and the many ways can we can become sick.

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