Bahrain in grip of 'eye flu'
Manama, April 3, 2008
Bahrain is in the grip of a contagious 'eye flu' with patients turning up at Salmaniya Medical Complex in droves suffering from viral conjunctivitis, according to a top doctor.
"We are receiving scores of cases at the Accident and Emergency Department with symptoms of the condition," he said.
"The infection epidemic is also known as 'eye flu' and we have been cautioning people to be extra careful of their eye hygiene."
The doctor, who would not be named, said there was always a sharp increase in conjunctivitis cases with the advent of the summer, but revealed there were more cases this year.
He described viral conjunctivitis as an inflammation of the conjunctivae, which are the mucous membranes covering the white of the eyes and the inner side of the eyelids.
"It usually affects both eyes at the same time, although it may start in one eye and spread to the other in a day or two," he said.
"There are many causes and the treatment will depend upon the cause, but more often it is treated with mild antibiotics and eye drops."
He said it was not serious, but can be uncomfortable, irritating and was highly contagious.
"We seem to have been in the middle of it for the past two weeks," the doctor said.
"There have been a significant number of people coming in with such complaints to us."
He said several health centres, private clinics and eye specialists were also reporting a large number of patients suffering from the problem.
The infection is normally caused by airborne respiratory droplets or caught by direct transfer from the fingers to the surface of the eyelids.
"After an incubation period of five to 12 days, the disease enters the acute phase, causing watery discharge," said the doctor.
He said patients should stay home from work or school until there's absolutely no discharge.
"They should also not share utensils, glasses, linen or wash clothes with others."
He said patients should expect symptoms to get worse for about seven to 10 days before getting better and added the infection won't completely go away for three to six weeks.-TradeArabia News Service