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Pink-eye disease rages in wet northern region

Update: August, 09/2012 - 10:42


Heavy rain has led to an epidemic of pink-eye disease, keeping hospitals in Ha Noi busy. Viruses in the air and dirty water are the main cause for the ailment. Health experts suggest people be rigorous about their personal hygiene. Since August, the clinical department at the National Eye Hospital has treated about 150 to 200 people a day. — VNA/VNS Photo Duong Ngoc
HA NOI — The number of people suffering from pink eye disease (conjunctivitis) has increased in northern provinces and cities due to the rainy season.

About 200 people each day visit the Central Eye Hospital for conjunctivitis-related checkups and treatment, according to the hospital. Patients mainly come from Ha Noi, Hai Duong, Hai Phong, Bac Ninh and Hoa Binh.

Eye hospitals in northern provinces such as Nam Dinh and Hoa Binh receive more than 20 cases per day.

Pham Ngoc Dong, head of the hospital Cornea Department, said conjunctivitis was highly contagious, especially in children.

"The beginning of the rainy season in northern provinces offers favourable conditions for the viral infection to develop. It usually takes one to three weeks for a patient to recover", he said.

However, many patients contract the disease again, due to the persistent dampness in the air and exposure to others infected.

Nguyen Thi Huong, the mother of a 21-month-old patient, said she did not take her son to the hospital for two weeks, instead treating him on her own at home. When she finally took him to the hospital, a doctor diagnosed an inflamed cornea, which takes even longer to be treated.

Previously, Huong's elder child contracted red eye disease from her friends at kindergarten.

Doctor Le Thi Ngoc Lan of the Central Eye Hospital said both adults and children can get this disease. However, children have a higher risk of being infected because they have little knowledge of personal hygiene.

"All patients should get treatment under experts' guidance. Trying to administer self-treatment can harm eyesight and result in a critical situation", she said.

Experts said this disease can be transmitted from one person to another by casual contact, sharing towels or pillow cases, facial contact, or sharing of cosmetics. So it is necessary to take preventive measures when living in the same environment with patients.

Symptoms include redness, discharge, burning, and sometimes itching and light sensitivity. It can occur in one eye or both. — VNS

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