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Sep 25, 2017

Pink Eye Attack in North and West

There is an outbreak of pink eye that is spreading quickly across the region.  While the rash of conjunctivitis has taken hold in neighboring Mexico, dozens of cases are also being reported in Belize daily.  In three weeks, there have been over one thousand cases reported at health facilities across the country and that number continues to rise. According to Doctor Ethan Gough, the Ministry of Health became aware of the sudden occurrence last week when physicians notified them of the spike in cases.  This afternoon, the epidemiologist spoke with the media about the plague that has also affected Panama and Costa Rica.

 

Ethan Gough

Dr. Ethan Gough, Epidemiologist

“Last week is when we really noticed that there was a problem because we started receiving reports from the various health regions that there were notice an increased number of cases of conjunctivitis.  We got reports initially for the Western Health Region.  So Belmopan, it was a report from a private doctor actually, he reported that he was seeing an unusual number of cases last week and that prompted an investigation and we, a team from the Western Health Region hospital, the hospital here in Belmopan went out to investigate and identified a number of cases.  It was fifty cases that they identified from the initial report, just for the Western Health Region.  Then I think maybe the same day or the day after we started getting reports from Corozal, Orange Walk, Belize City noticing an increased number of cases.  Last week, we also, we were made aware of a report from Chetumal that they have been seeing an increased number of conjunctivitis as well.  I think it was a news report, a media report that there were two thousand, two hundred cases in Chetumal.  So that’s when we really started to become aware of what was happening not only in Belize and the region.  But there have also been outbreaks in the Dominican Republic, Panama and Costa Rica recently.”

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