The Westmoreland Health Department is urging residents to take precautions to prevent an outbreak of viral conjunctivitis (pink eye) following the confirmation of three cases in the western parish.
Surveillance records show that the three cases were confirmed in Negril’s health district and were discovered in three children aged two, three and five.
Parish health promotion and education officer Gerald Miller told JIS News that while there is currently no outbreak, he is advising the public to take steps to reduce the risk of becoming infected with pink eye.
These measures include frequent hand washing, limiting handshakes, and wearing eye protection when exposed to wind, dust, heat, or sun to avoid irritation.
People are also urged not to touch eyes unnecessarily and not to share eye makeup, eye medications, and contact lenses, containers, and fluids.
“While we don’t have an outbreak, the potential is high if we don’t stop it because it is highly contagious. If a child comes to school, they can spread it to other children in the area. That’s why we’re warning our stakeholders,” said Miller.
He said the health department has notified its stakeholders and conducted awareness raising activities to raise awareness.
“Because pink eye is contagious, we are now using this medium to engage and alert our stakeholders, mainly the early childhood institutions, the Ministry of Education. [and Youth] and our schools,” Miller said. “We have sent information to the development officials, who work with the Early Childhood Commission (ECC), and we have also informed Westmoreland education officials to spread information in their WhatsApp groups.”
Miller urges parents to see a healthcare provider if their children experience symptoms of the virus.
Pink eye is redness and swelling of the eye, possibly caused by an infection or irritation caused by viruses.
Signs of the virus include redness and watery eyes, itchy and/or burning eyes, gritty sensation in the eyes and sensitivity to light.
Pink eye is a common condition and the infection can be spread by touching/rubbing the eyes with dirty hands or by sharing objects such as eye drops, contact lenses, towel/handkerchief and make-up.
Most people recover from pink eye within seven to 10 days without medical treatment.
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