Pink Eye Plentiful

Posted By: Marty

Pink Eye Plentiful - 09/21/17 11:37 AM

The Ministry of Health is warning the public to be on the lookout for pink eye - because there's an increased number of cases being reported, especially in the Belize, Orange Walk and Corozal Districts.

By now, most of us are familiar with the symptoms of pink eye which include redness in the white of the eye, watery eyes, itchy eyes, and blurred vision. But most importantly, it's highly contagious, so if you or someone you know is experiencing any of the symptoms you should seek help from your nearest healthcare facility and stay away from public places until the infection begins to clear.

Channel 7

Posted By: Marty

Re: Pink Eye Plentiful - 09/21/17 12:14 PM

Ministry of Health Responds to Increased Reports of Conjunctivitis (Pink Eye)

The Ministry of Health reports that there is an increase in the number of reported conjunctivitis cases (more commonly known as “pink eye”), particularly in the northern and central health regions. Conjunctivitis is an irritation of the eye, which is very uncomfortable, caused by bacteria or viruses which can spread easily from person to person.

Symptoms of conjunctivitis include:

• Redness in the white of the eye or inner eyelid
• Watery eyes
• Thick yellow discharge that crusts over the eyelashes, especially after sleep
• Itchy eyes, blurred vision and increased sensitivity to light
To mitigate the spreading of conjunctivitis, the following precautionary steps may be taken:
• Wash your hands often with soap and warm water. Wash them especially before and after cleaning, or applying eye drops or ointment to your infected eye.
• Avoid touching or rubbing your eyes. This can worsen the condition or spread the infection.
• With clean hands, wash any discharge from around your eye(s) several times a day using a clean wet washcloth. Wash the used washcloth with hot water and soap, and then wash your hands again with soap and warm water.
• Wash pillowcases, sheets, washcloths, and towels often with hot water and soap; wash your hands after handling such items.
• Do not wear contact lenses until your eye doctor says it’s okay to start wearing them again.
• Do not share personal items such as pillows, washcloths, towels, eye drops, eye and face makeup, makeup brushes, contact lenses and contact lens containers, or eyeglasses.
• Avoid shaking hands with others.
• Persons suffering pink eye should stay away from work, school and public places until the infection clears.

The Ministry of Health encourages persons experiencing the above symptoms, and those who believe they have been exposed to conjunctivitis, to seek medical attention at their nearest health facility. The Ministry also encourages all to limit physical contact with anyone who is suspected of having conjunctivitis due to the highly contagious nature of the infection.

Ministry of Health updated Pink Eye Poster (English).
Best way to control this outbreak is to practice regular handwashing with soap and water.

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Posted By: Marty

Re: Pink Eye Plentiful - 10/04/17 10:32 PM

Pink eye epidemic results in medication shortage on Ambergris Caye

The number of cases of Conjunctivitis, or ‘pink eye,’ across Ambergris Caye has led to a medication shortage. The contagious virus is an inflammation or swelling of the conjunctiva which causes irritation and reddening of the eyes. To treat the symptoms doctors are prescribing special eye drops and creams that are now in short supply.

While medication is limited on the island, Dr. Salim from the Dr. Otto Rodriguez San Pedro Polyclinic II says the number of people needing treatment has been decreasing. “We had hundreds of patients per day, it’s down to like 50 patients per day”. The polyclinic confirmed that they were out of medication for a while, but it is now available for patients. Pharmacists on the island are also reporting that they are out of medication, but efforts to provide more are underway. The most prescribed treatment is Ibuprofen for the pain and discomfort, and Chloramphenicol eye drops to prevent a superimposed bacterium.

Click here to read the rest of the article in the San Pedro Sun

Is the high incidents of pink eye causing price gouging?

Conjunctivitis or pink eye is still on the rise and the price for pink eye related medication is as well. Last week, reports surfaced that several pharmacies across the country increased prices of pink eye medication in response to the spread of pink eye.

Reports are that representatives from several pharmacies are informing customers that the price depends on the brand and demand. We understand that the Belize Bureau of Standards has not received any complaint of the increase of pink eye medication which comes in the form of tablets, cream or eye drops.

Director of Health Services Dr. Marvin Manzanero told Love News that the low level of medication could be as a result of unavailability in the region. Dr. Manazanero said that the Ministry if monitoring stock levels and the ministry if is communications with suppliers to make sure that a stock out does not occur.


Posted By: Marty

Re: Pink Eye Plentiful - 10/05/17 12:20 PM

Home Remedies for Pink Eye Symptoms

1. Tulsi
Tulsi, also known as holy basil, is known for its healing power. It has anti-inflammatory and soothing properties that protect the eyes from environmental damage and free radicals. It also has the power to fight viral, bacterial and fungal infections in the eyes.

Soak tulsi leaves in boiled water for 10 minutes. Then use the water as an eyewash, or soak a clean cotton pad or washcloth in the water and use it as a warm compress.

2. Green Tea
The bioflavonoids present in green tea — like matcha green tea — relieve irritation and inflammation caused by pink eye while fighting bacterial and viral infections. Dip a green tea bag in boiled water and place it on the infected eye once it’s cool enough to touch. Or make a cup of green tea and soak a clean washcloth in it to create a warm compress.

3. Aloe Vera Gel
Components in aloe vera gel, such as aloin and amodin, have antibacterial and antiviral properties. Some other important aloe vera benefits are its ability to reduce inflammation and speed up healing.

Once you notice the signs of pink eye, place aloe vera gel around the eye and eyelid. A 2012 study published in Pharmaceutical Biology found that aloe vera extracts can be used on human corneal cells safely. Researchers discovered that aloe vera extracts may be used in eye drops to treat inflammation and other ailments of external parts of the eye.

4. Turmeric
Turmeric has healing compounds, and it reduces inflammation. It also has antibacterial properties and can relieve pink eye symptoms when used topically. Add two tablespoons of turmeric powder to one cup of boiled water. Soak a clean cotton pad or washcloth in the mixture and use it as a warm compress.

5. Neem Oil
Neem oil relieves irritated skin with its soothing and gentle properties. It also has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial components that can relieve the symptoms of conjunctivitis. Wipe neem oil around the eye and eyelid before going bed for pink eye relief.

6. Colloidal Silver
One of the many colloidal silver benefits is its prompt action against a pink eye infection. When applied on the infected eye, the tiny silver colloids pick up the infected cells by attracting them electromagnetically and sending them into the bloodsteam to be eliminated. Unlike prescription antibiotics that are only able to treat specific classes of bacteria, colloidal silver is effective regardless of what may causing the infection.

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Posted By: ScubaLdy

Re: Pink Eye Plentiful - 10/05/17 04:01 PM

We learn so much here. Belize is great at NON-CHEMICAL treatments. Thanks
Posted By: Marty

Re: Pink Eye Plentiful - 10/07/17 12:12 PM

Pink Eye Outbreak Produces Record Numbers

If you're a Belizean - tonight, someone you know has Pink Eye, that's for sure! The Ministry of Health reports that more than five thousand cases of Pink Eye have been reported in Belize in the past four weeks, and we know that what is reported is only a percentage of the total cases: since many who contract it, just stay home and treat it with eye drops.

Tonight, the Ministry of Health has issued an advisory for the Pan American Day long Weekend. The notice says that mass gatherings should be avoided as much as possible and travel should be minimized within the country and across the borders unless extremely necessary.

Now, that's to avoid getting it. But if you already have it and you are a social security contributor; here's what you should do.

First off, don't go into your social security office immediately to claim your benefit. Yes, that is the rule, but it is being suspended because the Ministry of Health is advising all those with Pink eye to stay home.

Social security says that for this outbreak, it will accept sickness claims for Pink Eye AFTER the four days as late with good cause for delay.

Claims must be brought in immediately after recovery, and filed no later than two weeks after the illness to be consider don time.

Channel 7

Posted By: Marty

Re: Pink Eye Plentiful - 10/12/17 11:00 AM

Pink Eye and The People

The Pink Eye outbreak has been spreading like wildfire in Belize. Thousands of children and adults have come down with the condition - and, every day, hundreds more show up at clinics for diagnosis and treatment.

Even though it only lasts up to five days, the great discomfort that accompanies the condition, makes life miserable for that short time.

So, right now in Belize everyone is either recovering from it, or doing all they can to not contract it. Today 7 news went out on Albert Street to hear how people are coping with the outbreak and we also learned about some unique remedies that are used to fight the Pink.

"Have you gotten pink eye yet?"

Interviewee 1
"I gotta meet thousands of people in the nature of my work so to avoid contact with the pink eye I avoid physical contact. People like to shake my hand so I buck fist. However, I make sure I don't ever touch my face until I get home and wash my face."

Interviewee 2
"No not at all I think the most important thing is if you take common sense to wash your hands and make sure you don't touch your eyes or anything like that then it's totally fine and safe. Just walk around and use common sense."

Interviewee 3
"I have been using hand sanitizer wash my hand often. To everything I touch I use hand sanitizer."

Interviewee 4
"I haven't had it and my kids don't have it. We keep them away from other kids. We wash our hands and take the necessary precautions."

Interviewee 5
"Just keep washing my eyes every 15 to 20 minutes I wash my eyes."

"Sir have you gotten pink eye yet?"

Interviewee 6
"Yes I have. It was like sand in your eyes. It was very itchy and then when you go to sleep when you get up there is coal in your eyes. I got eye drops."

Interviewee 7
"I am trying to prevent pink eye by washing my hands, washing my face every day. Once you get to the bathroom or anything that you work on just make sure your hands are washed clean."

Interviewee 8
"Well it started very very you know and then on the later on about three days it affected both eyes very much so I bought an eye drop."

"Did any of your family members get it too?"

Interviewee 9
"Yes all through everyone got it. Yes everybody got it so that affected the whole family."

Interviewee 10
"Best way to avoid it is to make sure you don't touch anybody. Clean your hands and wash your face."

Interviewee 11
"If I try to rub my eye. If I see anybody has it I keep out of the way and don't mingle with them. I had pink eye in the seventies. No, because for me it was terrible. It burnt my eyes like sand."

Interviewee 12
"Well I and my family try to wash our hands with a lot of soap and those things right. We always try to follow what doctors say with instructions so that nobody catches it."

Interviewee 13
"Yes I already caught it. I have it right now."

"So you have pink eye right now but your eyes don't look red."

Interviewee 13
"Because I just caught it this morning. Check it a lot of water is dropping. No I use lime. I don't use eye drops because eye drops don't cure. I already cured it in Honduras with lime and I use rum too with lime. "

"Have you heard about the big pink eye epidemic?"

Interviewee 14
"Yes my whole family in Trinidad has it. Well I gave them a remedy it's like your first urine in the morning you wash your eyes with that. Your first urine. You wash your eyes with your pee and then you use like two tea bags at night you draw it and after it is cool you take the tea bag and put it on your eyes tie it and go sleep and it draws all the inflammation out your eyes. The next day your eyes feel better and you do it again. That is our remedy for Trinidad."

The Pink Eye eye drops have not been easy to find due to the high demand. Some pharmacies have even run out of the eye drops and are awaiting the new shipment.

Now, the only rule is this: if you have pink eye stay home, stay away from others - health authorities say that's the only way the outbreak will be contained.

Channel 7

Posted By: Marty

Re: Pink Eye Plentiful - 10/13/17 11:27 AM

Pink Eye causing problems for BERT

Belize Emergency Response Team, BERT, has announced that conjunctivitis or pink eye is affecting its capabilities. A statement from BERT states quote, “the organization is currently being impacted by the ongoing conjunctivitis (Pink Eye) infection, therefore, Non-Emergency Land Ambulance Services are being affected.” End of quote.

The public is asked to minimize Non-Emergency Calls to BERT until the situation stabilizes. BERT continues to respond to Emergency Calls as per normal through its land and air ambulance services. The public is reminded to employ driving best practices and obey the rules of the road to prevent Road Traffic Accidents.

The Ministry of Health has advised that once you are affected by the Pink Eye infection to visit a Doctor as soon as possible and stay at home. Wash your hands regularly after touching your face and stay away from crowded areas to minimize the spread.


M.O.H. Says Pink Eye Cases Have Not Peaked – 9,000 in a Month

This evening, following meetings with the Pan American Health Organization and gathering of formal reports, Director of Health Services Dr. Marvin Manzanero updated News Five with the very latest statistics on what has become a national and regional health epidemic. The Ministry of Health now reports upwards of eleven thousand cases of conjunctivitis from the start of 2017, versus just two thousand, four hundred and twenty-six to this point last year. The figures for 2017 stood just over two thousand, two hundred cases up to about the second week of September, when the first reports started coming in. According to Dr. Manzanero, the regional public health lab has identified the viral strain causing the outbreak, but he warns that despite a trend of reducing cases in the North, the ‘pink eye’ outbreak has not yet reached its peak.

Dr. Marvin Manzanero, Director of Health Services

“Data we managed to tabulate earlier in the week which ended for the epidemiological week last week, is suggesting that we still have not peaked in terms of the total amount of cases. The epidemic, according to our estimation, started four weeks ago when we started seeing the increase in numbers. In the last four weeks we have seen a little more than nine thousand cases. The vast majority of those, close to seven thousand cases, were in the last two weeks. So at week thirty-nine, we were at three thousand six hundred, and last week we had four thousand three hundred, something like that. In the previous thirty-six weeks – in the first nine months of this year, more or less – we only had had two thousand, two hundred plus cases, so that means that for the year, we have had close to eleven thousand cases; nine thousand of those have been in the current epidemic that we have.”

Aaron Humes

“And in terms of why the sudden jump, that’s still being looked into?”

Dr. Marvin Manzanero

“Yes. This is the normal pattern of epidemics. Some countries will peak at different rates – I know some countries in the region have peaked after eleven weeks; we are in week five of our epidemic. When you start breaking it down by district and doing rates; Corozal and Orange Walk have had decreasing rates over the last week; the Stann Creek District and the Belize District have had increases in rates; Cayo has had increase in rates as well. So it seem that Cayo, Stann Creek and Belize District has just started to go up, Corozal and Orange Walk are starting to go down, and Toledo – it doesn’t seem that the epidemic has fully reached there yet.  We got the results back from CARPHA of the testing that we had done with some random samples we took. So eighteen results were sent back to us today; fourteen of those samples came back positive for an enterovirus, which is consistent with what had been reported in the region in terms of the epidemic, and it’s also consistent with what we have been saying, that this is not a bacterial conjunctivitis epidemic that we have, so the lab data substantiates what we were initially considering.”

In Friday’s newscast we will have much more from Dr. Manzanero, including why the suddenly booming eye-drop industry may not save you from the pain of pink eye.

Healthy Living Reviews Pink Eye Plan

We know you may be tired of hearing about the eye infection sweeping across the country. But it is not a time to let your guard down. The public health clinics are still seeing a large number of new infections daily. As you heard earlier, the Ministry of Health is reporting that in just one month, a total of nine thousand and eighty-two cases have been reported in Belize due to the epidemic which started back in mid-September. While it is expected that the number of new cases will eventually begin to decrease. We must still maintain proper preventative strategies: Healthy Living offers a few more reminders.

Marleni Cuellar, Reporting

It’s been a little over a months since the soar in cases of conjunctivitis in Belize. Families have stocked up on soap and hand sanitizers; attempting to prevent the dreaded eye infection. How do you know if you’ve come in contact with the virus? Swelling, itching, burning, teary eyes are some common signs of the infection but it’s advised to visit a clinic for an official diagnosis.

Dr. Melissa Diaz, Primary Care Coordinator, Central Health Region, MOH
“Incubation period is short. Within hours or 24 hours or even less for you to start with symptoms. Generally we’ll see people are having symptoms for about five to seven days. It really depends on the severity of the illness that you get. It’s different from let’s say the chicken pox virus that once you mount a response that you don’t get it again. With pink eye you can. There are many different viruses that can cause it. So you can definitely get re-infected.”

Whether bacterial or viral, the symptoms are the similar. The major difference is that viral conjunctivitis – as is currently seen in this outbreak – is highly contagious. This is why; the Ministry of Health continues to urge Belizeans who have contracted pink eye to stay out of public areas.

Dr. Melissa Diaz

“What do we need to do to reduce the number of cases we’re seeing? Isolation. Separating yourself from the general public for the duration of the illness. Try not to touch your eyes even though its irritating its itching its painful, were asking you to wash your eyes with water, just distilled water or water from the pip you can also purchase artificial tears and out it in every hour every two hours. All of these things will help to alleviate some of your symptoms and stop you from touching your eyes which will make you less likely to be spreading the illness. We’re asking parents to keep children at home if they’d have pink eye from schools at every level from workplaces as well. We are also asking vendors, food handlers not be selling food, not be handling for with conjunctivitis as everybody who purchases from you is at risk of the developing conjunctivitis as well.”

Sunglasses are not enough to prevent the spread of the disease. The Ministry of Health posted a reminder that the Public Health Act does include offenses about willfully exposing people to infectious diseases and the employers’ responsibility to release workers who are infected with infectious diseases.  Even businesses have posted their own warnings to customers like this hardware store. Ultimately, there is a collective responsibility in minimizing cases.

Dr. Melissa Diaz

“Hand washing is key, washing your hands as often as possible, you can use hand sanitizers, you can use alcohol. In your workplace you can spray the door handles and phones with Lysol and avoid touching your face and avoid touching your eyes. So kindly just isolate hand washing avoid touching your face and eyes, artificial tears and eye watching as much as possible.”

Channel 5

Posted By: Marty

Re: Pink Eye Plentiful - 10/23/17 12:11 PM

THE PINK EYE SONG by Officer Mackoy Garcia

Posted By: Judyann H.

Re: Pink Eye Plentiful - 10/23/17 02:19 PM

That's great, nice job!.... Our experience with this Health issue is the Children are spreading it between households. We have been spared and so has our staff. However, none of us have been around children..... Many of our friends who did get this annoying contagion were exposed to small children.... Hope that helps a little, and as Mackoy says Wash your hands with Soap.... smile
Posted By: Marty

Re: Pink Eye Plentiful - 10/27/17 06:58 PM

Pink eye cases peak at 16,000 Officials say cases decreasing

Pink Eye cases have exceeded the 16,000 mark, but the number of infections have started to decrease from week to week, an official from the Ministry of Health told the Reporter on Wednesday.

Between September 10 and this past Monday, October 23, a total of 16,059 cases of pink eye were reported to the Ministry of Health, with the Belize district clearly recording the highest number of infections by almost half, with 7,307 cases during that period. The Cayo district registered the second highest number of cases with 2,287 and Stann Creek had 2,167 cases. Corozal was next with 2,025 cases, Orange Walk had 1,326 pink eye patients, and Toledo had the least number with 947 cases.

But despite these high numbers, Epidemiologist with the Ministry of Health, Dr. Ethan Gough conveyed to the Reporter that there seems to be some improvement: “Overall, we are seeing a decline in the number of cases reported in each district.”

Gough used statistics to support his observation. Two weeks ago, the number of cases per district were as follows: Corozal: 184; Orange Walk: 66; Belize: 1216; Cayo: 569; Stann Creek: 707; and Toledo: 349.

Last week, however, the number of cases per district were even lower, as follows: Corozal: 81; Orange Walk: 49; Belize: 522; Cayo: 321; Stann Creek: 577; and Toledo: 311.

Meanwhile, there have reportedly been more than 5,000 claims at the Social Security Board for pink eye sick leave, amounting to more than $700,000 in sick benefit relief. These figures do not reflect claims for cases yet to occur before the outbreak is over.

The infections for this year eclipse those from last year, when only 2,524 pink eye cases were recorded up to the same time in 2016.

Gough said the Ministry expects the numbers to continue to fall, but that if people become careless with their preventative measures, it is possible to see a resurgence of infections. Hence, the Ministry urges the public to continue to adhere to the advisory. That includes washing hands often, especially before and after touching the eyes. Disinfecting surfaces that are frequently touched is also advised, as well as not sharing eyewear or eye products. Also, staying away from huge crowds, especially if you have pink eye, is advised. Another advice is to avoid shaking hands with infected persons. Washing sheets and pillow cases in warm water can also help to prevent the spread of the infection.

People in the two southern districts, where the decreasing numbers are not so pronounced, are urged to follow the advisory. The Ministry says it will monitor those districts over the next few weeks.

The Reporter
Posted By: Marty

Re: Pink Eye Plentiful - 11/10/17 11:56 AM

SSB CEO Counts the Cost of Conjunctivitis

Today we asked the CEO of Social security about that over 1 million dollars in sickness claims that SSB has paid out for the many thousands of insured persons who became ill with conjunctivitis, or pink eye, as it is more commonly known.

As we told you, between September 4 and October 29, 2017, there were a total of 7,852 conjunctivitis claims submitted. The CEO told us that it was an unexpected spike in sickness benefit claims, but the organization comfortably managed it:

Dr. Colin Young - CEO, SSB
"In about 6 weeks starting in the middle of September to the end of October, we had received over 6,000 claims to social security board which resulted in over 34,000 sick days across the population and by now we've spent over 1 million dollars in the payment of claims and we had put out a press release to say as much. This is why we exist. Social security exist when you pay into the fund. When you get sick we ought to pay you your benefit. Sometimes that's the impact on the fund. We are happy to be able to pay out what is due to workers. However, the impact on the country is significantly greater than what we've paid out, because you think about all of those people who are out of work on an average of 5-6 days, that has a significant value to the economy as well. So, epidemics like this one can have a significant impact. It had an impact on our staff. For those 6 weeks, at any one week we were between 30-40 of our staff who were out also with conjunctivitis. So we've learnt from it in terms of how best to deal with it should it happen again in the future. We are noticing that there is a decrease in every district, at least in the claims that come in except for the south. It seems that its juts now getting down there and we see increases in Punta Gorda and Independence and Dangriga, but from the North down to up here in Belmopan and San Ignacio it seems that it's on a decline."

There were 15 times more pink eye sickness claims this year than last year.

Channel 7

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