Every day, 4,000 to 4,500 persons are affected with conjunctivitis across the State. In Chennai, on average, 80 to 100 persons are found to be affected with eye infection every day, across 10 government ophthalmic centres, Health Minister Ma. Subramanian said.
“Since the start of the northeast monsoon, nearly 1.50 lakh persons have been treated for conjunctivitis in the State,” the Minister said, shortly after inspecting the conjunctivitis treatment ward at the Regional Institute of Ophthalmology and Government Ophthalmic Hospital (RIO-GOH), on Monday.
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The Minister said the spread of conjunctivitis, commonly known as “Madras Eye” has been on the rise since the first week of September. The Minister said that the cases were higher in districts such as Salem and Dharmapuri but there was no need to worry.
In Chennai, there are 10 ophthalmic centres in the government sector including RIO, Egmore, Government Stanley Medical College Hospital, Government Kilpauk Medical College Hospital, Government Royapettah Hospital, Government Omandurar Medical College Hospital, Tamil Nadu Government Multi Super Speciality Hospital and Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital. Across the State, government ophthalmic units are functioning in 90 places, including medical college hospitals, district government hospitals and some taluk hospitals.
The Minister said that no person, who was treated for conjunctivitis, has had complications so far. “On behalf of the RIO-GOH, we tested samples at the PCR laboratory in Guindy. It was found to be caused by adeno and enteroviruses.” he said.
According to a press release, adenovirus and enterovirus were identified in 56 of 66 samples tested.
Irritation in the eyes, redness, watery discharge, itching, swelling, and stickiness are the symptoms of conjunctivitis, the Minister said. Those affected should not rub or touch their eyes. Noting that conjunctivitis spreads easily, he advised that affected persons should isolate themselves and should avoid going to offices, schools, commercial establishments, and public places for three to four days.
The Minister also advised persons not to resort to self-medication and seek medical help. The cases are expected to decrease from the second week of December, he added.
Mr. Subramanian said that information boards on conjunctivitis, including precautionary measures, would be put up in these hospitals, while hospitals would be told to put in place physical distancing measures as well.
Member of Legislative Assembly (Egmore) I. Paranthamen, Director of Medical Education R. Shanthimalar, dean of RGGGH E. Theranirajan and Director of RIO-GOH M.V.S. Prakash were present.