1 Apr 2016

Fiji Pink Eye outbreak sees 5000 cases in two weeks

12:01 pm on 1 April 2016

Health authorities in Fiji are urging people to observe strict personal hygiene as the country goes through a massive outbreak of conjunctivitis or Pink Eye.

In the past two weeks alone the number of cases of the virus in one district of Suva jumped from 700 to 5,000 cases.

Fiji's national communicable disease advisor Mike Kama said this was equivalent to the annual average for Pink Eye cases across the whole country in previous years.

Dr Kama said health authorities were not associating the outbreak with Cyclone Winston but were urging people with the virus to stay away from work and school and to only seek medical assistance if they developed bacterial infections.

"You know personal sanitation is primary and that is what we are trying to advise to the community instead of running for anti-biotics which is probably unneccesary at this point in time if it is a virus," said Dr Kama. "It should really take its course and personal sanitation is really important to adhere to."

Meanwhile, many health centres in Fiji are running out of eye drops, and it could be this weekend before stocks are replenished as the country deals with the conjuctivitis outbreak.

FBC News reports the chief pharmacist, Apolosi Vosanibola, as saying delays have meant that replacement stocks of eye drops, such as chloramphenicol, which were due to arrive yesterday, have been delayed.

He said supplies should arrive in health centres and hospitals from this weekend.