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Red eye disease breaks out in Gulu

By Umaru Kashaka

Added 7th January 2017 11:36 AM

According to surveillance and laboratory reports, 798 suspected cases have so far been reported within Gulu Main Prison, Pece Prison, Gulu Remand Home and Gulu Main Police Station.

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According to surveillance and laboratory reports, 798 suspected cases have so far been reported within Gulu Main Prison, Pece Prison, Gulu Remand Home and Gulu Main Police Station.

Prof. Anthony Mbonye, the acting director general of health services. Photo/File

Government has today confirmed an outbreak of red eye disease, also known as conjunctivitis, in Gulu district.

According to surveillance and laboratory reports, 798 suspected cases have so far been reported within Gulu Main Prison, Pece Prison, Gulu Remand Home and Gulu Main Police Station.

The ministry of health said in a statement that cases of conjunctivitis had also been reported within the health centre IIs of Lugore, Lukodi, Punena and Coope.

Conjunctivitis cases were also reported in health centre IIIs of Labworomor, Patiko and Bardege within the month of December 2016.

“Fifty samples have been picked for a whole range of bacterial and viral laboratory testing both within and outside Uganda, while surveillance efforts by the district and ministry of health teams continue,” Prof. Anthony Mbonye, the acting director general of health services, said in a statement.

The ministry’s public relations officer, Vivian Nakaliika said they were conducting sensitization programmes to educate masses about the signs, symptoms and dangers of the disease.

She said they were also orienting health workers on investigating and responding to the red eye disease.

The ministry appealed to the public to observe measures such as maintaining high sanitation standards and washing their hands with soap to avert the spread of the disease.

It also appealed to the public to avoid direct contact with people infected with the disease, particularly to avert the spread of the disease.

“Report and immediately take any suspected cases to a nearby health facility and remain vigilant and report all possible cases to the nearest health facilities,” the ministry added.

The ministry also stated that with support from partners, it was undertaking a number of measures to control the spread of the disease, including promoting hygiene and WASH activities within all Gulu prisons and treating the affected patients.

What is red eye disease?
Conjunctivitis is an inflammation of the conjunctiva. The conjunctiva is the thin clear tissue that lies over the white part of the eye and lines the inside of the eyelid.

Some of the symptoms of conjunctivitis are; redness in the white of the eye or inner eyelid, increased amount of tears, thick yellow discharge that crusts over the eyelashes especially after sleep, itchy eyes, blurred vision and increased sensitivity to light.

This disease is mainly caused by bacteria or viruses and can spread easily from person to person, but is not a serious health risk if diagnosed and treated promptly.

Among new-born babies however, conjunctivitis should be reported to a doctor immediately, as it could be a vision-threatening infection, said the ministry.

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