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17 Nov 2013
Tap Water Causing Pink Eye

Navi Mumbai In Grip Of Rare Conjunctivitis


Mumbai: A peculiar type of conjunctivitis, caused by a parasite found in contaminated water, has affected many in Navi Mumbai. A private hospital, which carried out a preliminary analysis, recorded over 20 cases in little over a month.


The Advanced Eye Hospital and Institute in Navi Mumbai saw patients who complained of the classic symptoms of conjunctivitis such as redness, irritation and light sensitivity. Most of them also got unsuccessfully treated for viral conjunctivitis only to be diagnosed with microsporidial infection later. Experts confirmed such cases are few and far between. 
    More worryingly, tap water emerged as the common source of infection. The mother of a nine-year-old boy said, “We live in a posh society and my son goes to a good school. There is no way he gets exposed to dirty water.” She added that one of his son’s friends was also diagnosed with it two days before him. 
    Cornea surgeon Dr Vandana Jain said the infection in normal individual was baffling. “Microsporidia are opportunistic pathogens that mostly affect those with weak immune system and not individuals with normal immunity.” 
    Adoctor from MGM Hospital in Vashi said they have also treated a couple of cases post monsoon. The doctor added that patients should use boiled water to wash their eyes if they feel any kind of irritation. 

The disease is caused by an infection with organisms called microsporidia

These parasites live within other host cells where they produce infective spores or cells that can reproduce 

The cells cause a disease called microsporidiosis 
It is commonly seen in immuno-compromised people such as HIV, TB and transplant patients 
The infection can also affect brain, intestine, muscles and kidneys 
It is not contagious like classic conjunctivitis 
It can affect vision permanently if not treated appropriately and in time

Authored By: Sumitra Deb Roy