Ophthalmological Society of Ghana warns public on ‘Apollo’ outbreak
The Ophthalmological Society of Ghana (OSG) on Friday warned the public on the emerging epidemic of Acute Haemmorrhagic Conjunctivitis commonly known as “Apollo” being reported from its members throughout the country.
A statement jointly signed by Dr Edith Dogbe, President and Dr Imoro Zeba Braimah, General Secretary in Accra said reported cases from four clinics in Accra and Tema last month was 390, while Okomfo Anokye Teaching Hospital in Kumasi reported 81 cases.
It said 12 cases were reported to Agogo Presbyterian Hospital, 20 cases in Akwatia Government Hospital and few cases other verbal reports from various private eye clinics in Bolgatanga and Bawku.
Apollo is a highly contagious viral infection that affects the lining of the eyelids and eyeball. It usually affects both eyes but may affect one eye and later spread to the other.
The disease affects people of all ages particularly those in crowded living conditions (that is homes, schools, day care centres, work places) and those who engage in poor hand washing practices.
Apollo is spread by contact with the hands, towels, face cloths, goggles and other surfaces exposed to secretions that contain the virus.
The symptoms of Apollo include sore eyes, feeling of grittiness or burning, redness, watery discharge, swelling of eyelids and light sensitivity.
The statement said the disease was self-limiting and usually resolves spontaneously within two weeks and the discomfort could be relieved with the use of artificial tears and cool moist towel applied around the eyes and use of other eye medication.
It advised against the use of steroids eye drops and affected persons to report immediately to an eye care worker for appropriate treatment.
On prevention, the statement said affected persons should stay away from non affected persons as much as possible to prevent spreading of the disease.
It recommended that affected persons should stay away from school or work until the conditions resolves, frequent hand washing and personal hygiene measures and avoiding rubbing the eyes with unclean hands should prevent the disease.
“People should desist from sharing towels, beddings and other items with affected persons, “it added.