Kampala schools report red eye disease outbreak, KCCA confirms

Kampala schools report red eye disease outbreak, KCCA confirms
Close-up view of an eye affected by conjunctivitis, showing characteristic redness and irritation.

Kampala, Uganda | By Michael Wandati | The Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) has issued a notice regarding the emergence of conjunctivitis, commonly known as “red eye” or “pink eye,” disease within schools across Kampala City.

In an official correspondence directed to the heads of both public and private educational institutions, Mr. Maginot Charles Bonnie, the acting director of education and social services, has emphasized the importance of reinstating existing infection prevention protocols. These measures include regular handwashing with soap and water, among other precautions.

The letter highlights that cases of conjunctivitis have already been identified in several schools and educational facilities.

Furthermore, all school administrators have been instructed to enforce practices that discourage students from touching or rubbing their eyes, avoiding handshakes, and minimizing close contact with others.

Additionally, they are urged to implement screening procedures for visitors entering their premises.

Experts note that conjunctivitis can be triggered by allergies or bacterial or viral infections. It is highly contagious and spreads through contact with the eye secretions of an infected individual.

Understanding conjunctivitis: Causes, symptoms, and treatment options

Conjunctivitis, commonly referred to as “red eye” or “pink eye” disease is an inflammation of the conjunctiva, the thin, transparent layer of tissue that covers the white part of the eye and lines the inner surface of the eyelid. This condition can result from various causes, including viral or bacterial infections, allergies, or irritants.

Viral conjunctivitis is often associated with respiratory infections such as the common cold and is highly contagious. It spreads through contact with respiratory secretions or by touching contaminated surfaces and then touching the eyes. Symptoms of viral conjunctivitis include redness, watery discharge, irritation, and sometimes swelling of the eyelids.

Bacterial conjunctivitis is caused by bacteria such as Staphylococcus aureus or Streptococcus pneumoniae. It can occur as a secondary infection following a cold or other respiratory illness or due to poor hygiene practices. Symptoms typically include redness, thick yellow or green discharge, and crusting of the eyelids, particularly upon waking.

Allergic conjunctivitis occurs when the conjunctiva becomes inflamed due to exposure to allergens such as pollen, dust mites, or pet dander. It often presents with itching, redness, tearing, and swelling of the eyelids.

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Conjunctivitis can also be caused by irritants such as smoke, chlorine in swimming pools, or chemicals in cosmetics or contact lens solutions. Symptoms may vary depending on the specific irritant but commonly include redness, tearing, and discomfort.

Treatment for conjunctivitis depends on the underlying cause. Viral conjunctivitis typically resolves on its own within one to two weeks, with supportive care such as cold compresses and artificial tears to alleviate symptoms.

Bacterial conjunctivitis may require antibiotic eye drops or ointment to clear the infection. Allergic conjunctivitis may be managed with antihistamine eye drops or oral medications to reduce inflammation and alleviate symptoms.

Preventive measures to reduce the risk of conjunctivitis include practicing good hand hygiene, avoiding touching the eyes with unwashed hands, avoiding sharing personal items such as towels or eye makeup, and avoiding close contact with individuals who have contagious forms of conjunctivitis.