Cases of viral conjunctivitis in Nicoya have increased to 279 so far this year. The outbreak became more intense in July, when 172 cases were reported.
Of all reported cases at Nicoya Regional Health, 27 have become hemorrhagic conjunctivitis.
“On average, one case of hemorrhagic conjunctivitis is reported every week. However, seven cases were reported last week,” said Melissa Ramírez, a doctor at the Health Monitoring Program at the Ministry of Health.
In 2016, Regional Health was not aware of any cases during this same time period.
According to Tannia Tánchez, director of Nicoya Regional Health, this many cases in the canton is unusual, which is why they have started giving talks to both patients and personnel at the Ebais clinics on how to avoid propagating the outbreak.
Nicoya is one of five Costa Rican cantons that have seen an outbreak of conjunctivitis. The other affected places include Garabito, Esparza, Puntarenas and Parrita.
How to avoid the outbreaks
Conjunctivitis is a contagious illness who symptoms include red eyes; tearing; secretions that could be yellowish, greenish or whitish; irritation or itchiness in the eyes; and discomfort when exposed to sun.
In order to minimize passing the virus on, the Ministry of Health recommends that people wash their hands and any objects that might have come into contact with the eyes.
They also advise to avoid greeting with a kiss, self-medicating, and attending invested schools.