LAHORE: Punjab authorities struggle to contain viral conjunctivitis ('pink eye') infection as reported cases are nearing the 100,000 mark in a short span, sources in the health department told Geo News.
The exponential spike reflects the viral's highly contagious nature which if contracted — in rare cases — can even cause permanent vision problems due to chronic inflammation of the cornea.
Around 10,269 cases of eye infection were reported in the last 24 hours, sources within the health department said.
Bahawalpur tops the list with the most number of reported cases with 1,540 people affected by the infection, followed by Faisalabad's 1,132 cases.
Meanwhile, Multan and Rhim Yar Khan have reported 1,048 and 608 cases respectively, whereas 452 people have been affected by the pink eye infection in Lahore.
The Punjab government announced closing all private and government educational institutions across the province from Thursday (September 28) to Sunday (October 1) due to a conjunctivitis outbreak.
The decision came after caretaker Punjab Chief Minister Mohsin Naqvi visited a government school in Lahore and expressed annoyance over the presence of students affected by conjunctivitis.
The interim chief minister summoned the secretary of schools immediately and directed that children suffering from the virus will not be allowed to attend school.
The decision was taken to protect children from the conjunctivitis epidemic in Punjab, the secretary of schools said.
Conjunctivitis is an eye condition caused by infection or allergies. It usually gets better in a couple of weeks without treatment.
Speaking to the media after visiting the school, CM Naqvi said conjunctivitis is spreading rapidly in schools and six to seven children in each class were found affected by conjunctivitis.
He said SOPs will be strictly implemented from Monday in all educational institutions across the province under which teachers will inspect the eyes of every child at the school entrance.
Conjunctivitis is also known as red or pink eye.
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