Waterborne Eye Infections On The Rise: Maharashtra Records 39,000 Conjunctivitis Cases

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Maharashtra, 30th July 2023: Conjunctivitis cases, commonly known as ‘eye flu,’ are increasing due to infections triggered by monsoon and seasonal changes. Maharashtra alone has reported over 39,000 cases of conjunctivitis. Health experts attribute this rise to waterborne bacteria and viruses that flourish in stagnant water from recent spells of rain and waterlogging.

Conjunctivitis refers to the inflammation or infection of the conjunctiva, a part of the eye. It leads to redness and itching in one or both eyes and excessive tear discharge. It is the most prevalent cause of eye redness and discharge in both primary care and the emergency department.

The causes of conjunctivitis can include viruses, bacteria, allergies, or exposure to certain chemicals. However, the current surge in eye infections is primarily due to waterborne bacteria and viruses.

The number of cases is significantly rising in various areas. For instance, Safdurjung Hospital reports over 80-100 cases of conjunctivitis daily since the onset of the rainy season in the national capital. Pune witnessed more than 2,500 cases within a week, while Buldhana reported over 6,693 cases so far.

The situation has raised concerns among teachers, who have requested the closure of schools until July 31 to control the spread of the infectious disease among children. The MCD teachers’ union, Shikshak Nyay Manch, wrote a letter to Mayor Shelly Oberoi urging prompt action in response to the widespread eye infections in MCD schools.

Some people wonder if wearing sunglasses can prevent the transmission of conjunctivitis. While glasses can help reduce irritation and discomfort for those already infected, they do not stop the spread of the ocular infection. Therefore, wearing shades does not spare others from getting infected, especially in crowded places or offices.