Pink Eye Outbreak Infects 400 Students in Mancherial, Concerns Rise Across Hyderabad
DECCAN CHRONICLE | Rachel Dammala
Hyderabad: Amid the rise of infection, over 400 students of a social welfare school in Mancherial district have contracted conjunctivitis. Commonly referred to as pink eye, it spread among more than half of the students of Jaipur Social Welfare Residential School for boys in Mancherial district's Jaipur mandal in the past week.
According to Principal R Balabhaskar, the first two cases of the infection came to their notice on the night of July 23. "We spoke to the health supervisor that night and gave the students medication to bring them relief until the next day. Within that very night, it spread to about a hundred students. Probably, the infection had spread by then and it was only a matter of time until the symptoms showed," he told Deccan Chronicle.
The school arranged for a medical camp on its premises that went on for three days. "None of the cases were serious and everyone was getting cured within just a day or two. However, the virus spread was rapid which is why it spread to almost 400 out of 700 students in the school," said a health supervisor. He added the affected students were immediately sent into isolation, and treated with drops meant to cure the eyes.
According to the principal, apart from the students, four teachers and a couple of non-teaching staff contracted the infection. "Almost everyone has recovered now, with only three active cases at the moment," the principal said. "Parents have been growing worried, but we assured them of good care, and even sent some students home, if and when their parents believed they would take better care elsewhere," he added.
Meanwhile, the state, including Hyderabad, has seen an uptick in the number of pink eye cases, with over thousands thronging hospitals. According to doctors in the city, the spurt began at the start of the month and peaked during the past two weeks.
"Incessant rains brought in a conducive temperature for the virus to spread rapidly, Even these numbers are just the tip of the iceberg as many have self-diagnosed and treated themselves. With the temperature going up again, the virulence will dwindle and it's already on the verge of receding," said Dr Muralidhar Ramappa, a cornea consultant. He added that social gatherings, schools, assemblies, festive and political gatherings are a hotspot for the spread.
Fever and throat discomfort generally precede conjunctivities.
Virus spreads easily through droplets from the eyes and nose, during sneezing and coughing.
The symptoms take almost a week to manifest and by then the person had probably infected many others, says Dr Muralidhar Ramappa, a cornea consultant
Recovery is quick — within two-three days.
Patients may pass on the virus to a healthy person for a week after they're cured.
Children, the elderly and those with systemic diseases like renal, cancerous and other complications, are more vulnerable.