July 17, 2010 (JUBA) — The World Health Organization (WHO) surveillance team has confirmed an outbreak of Red Eye disease, also known as Conjunctivitis, in Juba the Southern Sudan capital.
- Red Eye patient (University of California)
The investigation team visited key health facilities, schools and local community centers in Juba. In the last ten days, increased cases were reportedly recorded in Juba Teaching Hospital (JTH), with United Nations clinics (UNDP and UNMIS) also reporting red eye cases among its staff.
According to the health officials, conjunctivitis outbreak is reemerging as similar to the last outbreak of red eyes in 2007.
Currently, health authorities are issuing health alert messages through the media to inform the public about the conjunctivitis’ outbreak and how best this disease can be prevented.
The disease, noted Dr. Abdinasir M. Abubakar, a Medical Officer with WHO’s Communicable Disease Surveillance & Response department, can be prevented by observing good personal hygiene and infection control such as washing hands and face with soap and avoiding handshake.
“Anyone with symptoms of conjunctivitis should seek treatment from nearest health facilities,” Dr. Abubakar said in a statement.
Meanwhile, Sudan Tribune has learnt that albeit the red eye disease outbreak had only been reported in Juba, investigations are still ongoing elsewhere, while WHO officials have advised any patient with red eye disease to stay at home for 2-3 days, in order to reduce its transmission and spread.
WHAT IS RED EYE DISEASE?
Also known as Conjunctivitis, red eye disease is an inflammation of the conjunctiva, the mucous membrane that lines the eyelids and covers the white of the eyeball.
Its symptoms of include redness, discharge, burning, and sometimes itching and light sensitivity. It can occur in one eye or both.
The most common cause of conjunctivitis is a viral infection. Other causes include seasonal allergies, bacterial infection, and reactions to eye medications.
Viral conjunctivitis can be transmitted from one person to another by casual contact, sharing towels or pillow cases, facial contact, or sharing of cosmetics.
It can occur before, during, or after a cold or upper respiratory infection because the same virus which causes the cold can cause conjunctivitis. Viral conjunctivitis is very contagious in the first 10-12 days and may last up to 2-3 weeks.
On the other hand, bacterial conjunctivitis, like viral conjunctivitis, is contagious. Most people, who develop bacterial conjunctivitis, also have other eye conditions such as dry eyes or inflammation of the eyelids.