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Opinions Sun, 6 Oct 2013

Outbreak of “apollo”

Outbreak of acute haemorrhagic conjunctivitis popularly known as “apollo”

I write to inform the general public, especially those from Upper East Region, about the outbreak of Acute Haemorrhagic Conjunctivitis, popularly known as “Apollo”. Most people wonder why it is popularly called “Apollo”. This is because an epidemic of the disease was first recognized in Ghana at the time when the Apollo XI spacecraft was launched.

The disease, which is caused by the enterovirus 70, is highly contagious and it is transmitted through human contact with an infected individual or object such as a towel or handkerchief used by an infected person. Its symptoms usually start within one to two days after infection.

It is important to mention a few symptoms of the disease to help the general public identify it quickly so as to reduce the spread of the disease. Most infected persons will complain of painful red eyes and frequent mucus discharge from the eyes accompanied by excessive tearing. Some also experience blurry vision and fever in addition to the common symptoms.

The disease, however, has no known treatment currently. The virus generally resolves itself within a five to seven day period. Thus, it is imperative to go for a medical check once you experience some of these symptoms. Please do not be discouraged by the fact that there is no known treatment because your symptoms could be that of a different disease. Most eye conditions present with some common symptoms.

In addition, your doctor might prescribe some medications for you to help reduce the discomfort. S/he might also identify a different eye condition that needs much attention. Please DO NOT apply locally prepared solutions like salt water or soap to your eyes because they have the potential of destroying your eyes. It is therefore important to prevent the spread of the disease by ensuring good hygiene and regular examination of our eyes.

Thank you.

By: Dr. Issah Imoro

Bawku (issahwuni@gmail.com)

Columnist: Imoro, Issah