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15 Nov 2013
Unusual Cocktail of Viral- Bacterial Conjunctivitis baffles City Doctors

Mumbai: City doctors have witnessed a sudden surge in conjunctivitis. Worryingly, a co-infection with a mix of viral and bacterial conjunctivitis, which results in a more severe ailment, is making the medical fraternity nervous. 
    Worli’s Nitya Chandran (34) took nearly a month to recover from recurrent bouts of conjunctivitis. After a primary infection of viral conjunctivitis, she suffered another attack, a mix of viral and bacterial infections. “The first time it resolved on its own with general eye drops. The infection recurred in a few days; only this time it was more painful.” 

She took treatment at Lilavati Hospital in Bandra, where she was put on an extensive course of antiviral and anti-bacterial medication. Chandran could resume work only after three weeks. She still has blurred vision, though, and has to continue her weekly follow-ups. 
    A 32-year-old Prabhadevi resident, too, suffered a similar co-infection that required antibiotics for nearly three weeks. The patient sought treatment at P D Hinduja Hospital in Mahim. Later, her children, too, got the infection, though it was a little less severe. 
    Routine microbiological studies at state-run J J Hospital have revealed the same trend. Dean Dr T P Lahane, also an eye surgeon, said conjunctivitis has been tricky and very severe in a few cases. 
    “In some cases, patients have developed a condition called superficial punctuate keratitis (SPK), where they suffer from dryness, blurred vision and the sensation of a foreign particle in the eye. We are treating conjunctivitis-related complications in a few patients that have lasted them for nearly a year.” He added that on any given day, at least 10 patients are being diagnosed with conjunctivitis. 
    Experts are baffled over high number of patients after monsoon. Dr Vandana Jain, a Harvard University-trained eye surgeon, said, “Unlike other years, corneal involvement is less this year but the infection is lingering for weeks.” 

MUMBAIKARS SEE RED 
What is conjunctivitis? 

It is an inflammation or infection of the conjunctiva or the clear membrane that covers the outermost layer of the eye. This area is particularly vulnerable to irritants and allergens 
 
The two kinds of conjunctivitis in the air

VIRAL 
  • Easily spreads
  • Usually lasts for less than a week
  • Redness in the white of the eye or inner eyelid
  • Increased tears
  • Gets cured without medication at times
  • Sensitivity to light 

BACTERIAL 

  • Thick yellow discharge that crusts over eyelashes
  • Green or white discharge 
  • Antibiotic eyedrops are sometimes prescribed 
  • Itchy, burning eyes and blurred vision are common 
  • Less common than viral 

STAY SAFE FROM INFECTION. HERE’S HOW 

Wash your hands frequently
Do not touch or rub your eyes
Never share eye makeup or cosmetics with anyone
Never use eye medicine that has been prescribed for someone else
Do not share towels, washcloths or sheets with anyone