A 10-15% Increase Reported Compared to Previous Years
Mumbai, 1st August 2023: As Mumbai experiences a significant increase in conjunctivitis cases this rainy season, healthcare experts sound an alarm about the highly contagious nature of this eye infection. Conjunctivitis, commonly known as “pink eye,” is an inflammation of the conjunctiva, the thin membrane that covers the white part of the eye and the inner surface of the eyelids. The infection can spread rapidly within communities, necessitating heightened awareness and preventive measures.
Compared to previous years, there has been a concerning 10-15% increase in conjunctivitis cases. Approximately 15% of daily outpatients are presenting with symptoms of conjunctivitis, and these cases appear to be more virulent and highly contagious.
“The prevailing high humidity during the rainy season fosters viral growth, creating favorable conditions for the spread of conjunctivitis. Areas with frequent water logging and regions where hygiene practices are not well-maintained, such as slum dwelling areas, are at higher risk for transmission. Children, their family members, and even healthcare workers have been significantly impacted, making up almost 30-40% of the affected group.” Said Dr. T S Sujatha, General Ophthalmologist and Cataract Surgeon, Dr. Agarwals Eye Hospital.
While no reported clusters of viral conjunctivitis have emerged in schools or workplaces thus far, the possibility of such occurrences remains high due to the current weather conditions in Mumbai.
Experts caution that individuals who resort to home remedies, neglect hygiene, or use over-the-counter prescriptions are at a higher risk of developing severe complications of viral conjunctivitis. To prevent such complications, consulting an ophthalmologist at the earliest signs of conjunctivitis is crucial.
Patient education regarding viral conjunctivitis is also of utmost importance. Physicians and ophthalmologists play a critical role in raising awareness among the public about the infection and emphasizing the significance of timely medical consultation.
“To prevent the spread of conjunctivitis, adopting simple preventive measures is essential. Regularly washing the face, refraining from frequent eye touching, maintaining clean surroundings, and practicing self-hygiene are effective preventive measures. Parents should also encourage their children to wash their hands regularly and avoid sharing handkerchiefs or personal belongings with other children.” Added Dr. T S Sujatha, General Ophthalmologist and Cataract Surgeon, Dr. Agarwals Eye Hospital.
As Mumbai prepares for an increasing number of conjunctivitis cases during this rainy season, healthcare professionals urge residents to be proactive in adopting preventive measures and seeking early medical attention. Raising awareness about conjunctivitis and promoting good hygiene practices will be instrumental in controlling the spread of the infection and ensuring the well-being of the community.