It was reported that that several Caribbean islands have reported outbreaks of conjunctivitis or Red Eye at health facilities and medical practices and the BVI and the rest of the Caribbean are being placed on the alert by the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA).
Red Eye or conjunctivitis is a disease that causes inflammation of the membrane covering the whites of the eyes and the inside of the eyelids. The congestion of blood vessels in this membrane gives rise to a reddened appearance and explains the more common names “red eye or pink eye”.
The most common causes of conjunctivitis are viruses, bacteria, and allergens. It was especially mentioned that viral and bacterial conjunctivitis are very contagious and can spread easily from person to person.
Dr. Virginia Asin-Oostburg, CARPHA’s Director of Surveillance, Disease Prevention and Control is advising persons in the region to prevent the spread of the disease. “The Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) is currently monitoring the situation and we want to urge persons to take the necessary precautions to prevent and reduce the spread of this illness,” she said.
Persons suspected of having conjunctivitis may experience eye symptoms such as redness; irritation; itchiness; production of excessive tears; clear or yellow discharge that may make the eyelids stick together, especially on mornings, and swelling of the eye lids.
In order to stem the spread of the disease CARPHA is urging the public to avoid close contact with persons who are ill with conjunctival symptoms. They are also asked to keep unwashed hands away from face and eyes, wash hands often with soap and warm water, or alternatively use an alcohol based hand-sanitizer.