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Ho Chi Minh City sees spike in conjunctivitis

Ho Chi Minh City sees spike in conjunctivitis

Monday, September 11, 2023, 18:59 GMT+7
Ho Chi Minh City sees spike in conjunctivitis
A parent brings his child with pinkeye to Children’s Hospital 2 in District 1, Ho Chi Minh City for a check-up. Photo: X.Mai / Tuoi Tre

There has been an increase in the number of pinkeye infections in Ho Chi Minh City, with the health sector identifying enterovirus as the primary cause of the disease, which is different from the usual adenovirus confirmed as the pathogen in previous years.

As per a report released by the Ho Chi Minh City Department of Health, approximately 72,000 individuals have sought examinations for conjunctivitis since the beginning of the year, with around one-third being school-age children and the remainder being adults. 

Notably, there has been a recent uptick in infections compared to the earlier months of the year.

Dr. Nguyen Dinh Trung Chinh, an ophthalmologist from the interdisciplinary department of Children’s Hospital 2 in District 1, has observed a surge in the number of children seeking treatment for pinkeye in recent days, with daily cases ranging from 70 to 80, nearly double from the earlier months when it averaged around 40-50 cases per day.

Huynh Thi Bich Lieu, deputy head of the ophthalmology department at Le Van Thinh Hospital in Thu Duc City, said the hospital now treats approximately 240 patients with various eye conditions daily, with pinkeye cases comprising 170-180 of them, accounting for approximately 70-75 percent. 

In comparison to the period before August, the number of pinkeye patients examined at the hospital increased 1.5 times.

In numerous instances, entire households experienced a rapid outbreak of pinkeye, with family members showing symptoms within just one day of contact with an infected person.

During the course of diagnosing and treating individuals with pinkeye, Dr. Lieu observed that this outbreak has a swifter transmission rate compared to previous occurrences.

For many patients, it only takes around two to three days from initial contact with an infected person to the incubation period and the onset of symptoms. 

Once conditions, such as itchiness, burning sensation, watery eyes, and slight eyelid swelling, manifest, it usually takes only one to two hours for the eyes to display nearly all the associated symptoms.

The majority of patients typically recover within a span of seven to 14 days.

An ophthalmologist based in Ho Chi Minh City attributed the recent rainy weather and elevated atmospheric humidity in the city to the proliferation of the pathogens responsible for pinkeye. 

In addition, a dusty environment, subpar hygiene practices, the use of contaminated water sources, and the sharing of household items are among the reasons behind the surge in pinkeye cases.

The Ho Chi Minh City Department of Health has reported that the primary factor responsible for pinkeye outbreaks in the city is enterovirus, constituting approximately 86 percent of the cases.

According to public health specialists and ophthalmologists, the enterovirus implicated in the illness is considered to be of lesser concern compared to the prior adenovirus.

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Bao Anh - Xuan Mai / Tuoi Tre News

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