Conjunctivitis outbreak hits Tonga

May 11, 2016 4:01 am 

SUVA, May 10 — A conjunctivitis outbreak in Tonga this year has seen over 500 people flocking to hospital with confirmed symptoms of the viral eye infection, local media reported Tuesday.

In the past five weeks, a hospital on Tonga's main island of Tongatapu has registered more cases of conjunctivitis than that of the whole 2015, according to news website Matangi Tonga.

Savelina Veamatahau, eye practitioner at the Vaiola Hospital said the first conjunctivitis cases for this year were reported at the hospital in March, with 44 people. "This number spiked up to 367 in April alone," she said.

On Monday, the hospital registered another more than 50 people with conjunctivitis, said Veamatahau.

"This number dropped to around 30 on Friday, May 6, and we thought it had declined, but this morning it went up again with more than 100 people turning up with conjunctivitis at the hospital," she said.

The hospital prescribes eye-drops to help patients recover faster.

A highly contagious disease, viral conjunctivitis' symptoms include red and teary eyes, discharge and sensitivity to light. The virus can go away on its own without treatment within 10 to 14 days or sometimes even to a month.

Tonga's Ministry of Health is expected to strengthen its public awareness with television public health programs on the outbreak later this week. (PNA/Xinhua)

BNB/SSC

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