Red Eye Cases Surge to Over 7,500 in Three Weeks Across Uganda


By: Modupe Adeniyi. Freelance Health Reporter

East Africa map showing Uganda. 


Wednesday, April 17 2024. The health ministry in Uganda has reported an alarming rise in red eye cases across the country, with the number of reported cases skyrocketing from 954 on March 14 to a staggering 7,596 by April 6 - an eightfold increase in just three weeks.


The outbreak has primarily affected congregate settings such as prisons, schools, communities, health centers and police stations with the majority of cases (5,897) reported from prisons. Kampala, the capital city, has been particularly hard hit, with the highest number of cases reported in Rubaga, Kawempe, Makindye and Nakawa divisions.


Dr. Daniel Kyabayinze, the director of public health at the Ministry has assured the public that the infection, though highly contagious is not life-threatening and typically resolves within a week. However, he has warned against the use of non-recommended approaches which can lead to permanent sight loss.


The ministry has implemented several strategies to curb the spread of the virus including activating the National Public Health Emergency Operating Centre, mobilizing the school health task force, enhancing community sensitization, and strengthening surveillance in prisons and police cells.


Symptoms of the viral conjunctivitis, or "red eye," include redness, itching, tearing, swelling, a grainy sensation, headache and fever. The ministry has advised the public to maintain high sanitation standards, wash hands frequently, avoid direct contact with infected individuals and refrain from sharing personal items.


In terms of treatment, the American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends letting the viral infection resolve on its own, with the use of over-the-counter pain relievers and lubricating eye drops to alleviate symptoms. Warm compresses can also provide relief.


As the health authorities continue to monitor the situation and implement containment measures, the public is urged to heed the ministry's advice and seek prompt medical attention if affected. By working together, we can mitigate the impact of this outbreak and protect the health and well-being of all Ugandans, said Dr. Kyabayinze



Source: Daily Monitor News, Ugandan edition.




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Published: April 17, 2024

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