Connect with us


Good personal hygiene is key says KZN Health MEC amid pink eye outbreak in eThekwini



KZN Health MEC has confirmed the outbreak of highly contagious conjunctivitis, commonly known as pink eye, in eThekwini, with over 160 confirmed cases

The KwaZulu-Natal Health MEC Nomagugu Simelane has asked the public to practice proper personal hygiene to avoid pink eye infection, currently plaguing various parts of eThekwini.

This comes after at least 161 cases of pink eye were confirmed in various parts of the eThekwini district since 26 February 2024.

According to the KwaZulu-Natal Health Department, 55 cases were recorded at Clairwood Hospital, 50 cases were recorded at the KwaZulu-Natal Children’s Hospital, 39 were reported at the Cato Manor Community Health Centre, 15 cases were reported at McCord Hospital, and two cases were reported at the Halley Stott Clinic.

Basic hygiene practices contain spread

Simelane said a few basic hygiene practices, such as regular hand-washing and avoiding the sharing of face cloths, eye cosmetics, or pillows, can help contain the spread of pink eye

“Now that we have confirmed cases of pink eye in eThekwini district, we are urging those who have its symptoms not to sit at home but to visit their nearest clinic,” she said.

ALSO READ: Tips and prevention on how not to catch pink eye

“During the era of Covid-19, we developed a number of habits that promoted good hygiene, such as regular hand washing with soap and water or sanitizer. Those are some of the things we need to re-orient ourselves with.”

Pink eye also called conjunctivitis

According to the department, an infection of the transparent membrane lining the eyeball and eyelid, called the conjunctiva, is known as pink eye.

“When small blood vessels in the conjunctiva become swollen and irritated, they’re more visible. This is what causes the whites of the eyes to appear reddish or pink. Pink eye is also called conjunctivitis,” the department said.

Pink eye is most often caused by a viral infection, also known as viral conjunctivitis, which is highly contagious.

It can also be caused by a bacterial infection, an allergic reaction, or – in babies – an incompletely opened tear duct.

ALSO READ: Health Department confirms German measles outbreak in Northern Cape

“Though pink eye can be irritating, it rarely affects your vision. Treatment can help ease the discomfort of pink eye,” the department said.

Getting an early diagnosis and taking particular safety measures will help minimise the spread of pink eye because it is contagious.

Causes of pink eye:

  • Viruses
  • Bacteria
  • Allergens
  • A chemical splash in the eye.
  • A foreign object in the eye.
  • In newborns, a blocked tear duct.
  • Contact lens use
  • Fungi
  • Certain diseases

Prevention of pink eye

  • Don’t touch your eyes with your hands.
  • Wash your hands often.
  • Use a clean towel and washcloth daily.
  • Don’t share towels or washcloths.
  • Change your pillowcases often.
  • Throw away old eye cosmetics, such as mascara.
  • Don’t share eye cosmetics or personal eye care items.
  • Schools should allow infected children to remain in school once any therapy is implemented, except when viral or bacterial conjunctivitis is accompanied by systemic signs of illness.
  • Infected pupils should refrain from attending school if they are unable to avoid close contact with other pupils.

The department has urged those who are infected or have suspicions of infection to consult the nearest healthcare facility or see a doctor as soon as possible.

ALSO READ: Allergies: the teary side of spring

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *