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#526696 - 10/27/17 12:58 PM Re: Pink Eye Plentiful [Re: Marty]  
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 55,631
Marty Offline
Marty  Offline
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

#526961 - 11/10/17 05:56 AM Re: Pink Eye Plentiful [Re: Marty]  
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 55,631
Marty Offline
Marty  Offline

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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