Conjunctivitis turns all-weather ailment in City

Rain, virus turning virulent blamed for rise in cases in last fortnight

Conjunctivitis turns all-weather ailment in City

Conjunctivitis, which was once a seasonal infection, is now reported throughout the year. The City is noticing this trend for the past two years, say doctors. In fact, the number of cases has gone up in the past two weeks.

Conjunctivitis, otherwise known as Madras eye, was once an infection known to spread during summer. However, in the last two years, considerable number of cases have been reported throughout the year.

Eye hospitals in the City have been noticing that at least 15-20 out of every 100 outpatient cases are those suffering from conjunctivitis. Dr Vishwanath, assistant professor, department of ophthalmology, Bangalore Medical College and Research Institute, told Deccan Herald, “We have been seeing that about 15 per cent of the outpatients have the infection.”

Dr Vishwanath said that the cases that they came across were not severe. Compared to the previous years, the severity is less, he said. While the usual season for conjunctivitis is January to May, this time, climatic changes have contributed significantly for the spread of the infection, Vishwanath said. “There has been continuous change in the weather. The city has seen downpours due to cyclones. This might be one of the reasons,” he said.

Dr Bhujanga Shetty, chairman, Narayana Nethralaya, said that on an average, the number of cases would be around 15 to 20 and they had noticed a jump this time.
“For the past two years, the trend has been that even during the off season, we come across plenty of cases,” he said.

“Initially, it was believed that mango flies were the medium through which it spreads. Conjunctivitis during this period is unusual.”

The number of cases has been on the rise over the past two weeks, say City ophthalmologists. Dr Samprathi, ophthalmologist, Samprathi Eye Hospital and Squint Centre, said that children as young as six months and adults as old as 83 years were reported having the infection. “The off-season infection may be because of the virus turning more virulent,” he said. Noting that it was usually a self-limiting condition, he said medicines would be given to prevent secondary bacterial infection.

“The typical symptoms are redness in the eye, irritation, severe pain and watery eyes. There is a myth that the infection spreads by looking at the eye of the affected. It is important to take necessary precautions as it is contagious,” Samprathi said.
DH News Service

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