Health Ministry: No red eye outbreak in T&T
The Ministry of Health is seeking to allay fears that Trinidad and Tobago may be one of the countries affected by a red eye outbreak which has impacted other islands across the Caribbean.
In a statement issued on Friday, the Ministry noted that based on previous years’ data, the current number of cases in T&T is within the normal range expected and is not considered to be an outbreak at this time.
The Ministry noted that the Pan American Health Organization advised in its Epidemiological Update on Conjunctivitis (commonly referred to as ‘red eye’ or ‘pink eye’) dated July 25, 2017, that thirteen countries and territories of the Americas reported increases in conjunctivitis cases.
The countries currently affected by the outbreak include the Bahamas, Brazil, Costa Rica, Dominica, the Dominican Republic, Guadeloupe, Martinique, Mexico, Panama, Saint Lucia, Saint Martin, Suriname, and the Turks and Caicos Islands.
The Ministry of Health further took the opportunity to remind the public of the symptoms of conjunctivitis:
· Redness; irritation; itchiness; production of tears
· Clear or yellow discharges that may the eyelids stick together, especially on mornings
· Swelling of the eye lids
The Ministry also sought to encourage the public to take the necessary precautions so as to curtail the spread of this disease. These include:
· Wash hands with soap and water regularly. Alcohol-based hand sanitizer is also acceptable
· Properly clean surfaces in common areas (e.g. doorknobs, countertops in shared spaces)
· Avoid touching your face and eyes
· Avoid close contact with persons who display symptoms of conjunctivitis
· Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing. If no tissue is available, coughing or sneezing into your elbow is acceptable.
· Stay away from school or work if you are ill.
The public is advised to seek medical attention if symptoms are severe or persistent in nature.