Information for Health Care Professionals about Conjunctivitis
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Provider Information – Conjunctivitis
August 22, 2008
The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) and local public health agencies (including Mower County Public Health Nursing Service, Freeborn County Public Health and Olmsted County Department of Public Health) are investigating a cluster of conjunctivitis cases in Mower County and surrounding areas. Most cases appear to be self-limited, however some appear to be severe.
Some of the recently reported cases have a unique clinical picture involving development of an inflammatory conjunctival membrane and decreased visual acuity, though no permanent visual loss has been noted to date. Symptoms last as long as 2-3 weeks.
Clinicians evaluating these patients should obtain viral and bacterial cultures.
This illness appears to be extremely infectious by contact with eye drainage or contaminated items. Assure that infection prevention measures are being practiced in your facility. These include:
- Scrupulous hand hygiene must be performed by all healthcare providers
- Soap and warm water or alcohol-based hand rub
- Avoid use of multi-dose medication vials
- Disinfect all patient care equipment after each use. Use an EPA-registered disinfection product and follow manufacturer instructions for application and contact time
Persons diagnosed with conjunctivitis should avoid close contact with others and should be instructed to perform frequent hand hygiene and avoid sharing personal items. They should avoid attending school, childcare or work (especially if they are a healthcare worker or childcare provider) until the eye drainage has resolved. Also see the conjunctivitis prevention fact sheet for patients.
If you have further questions or to report cases you can call the Minnesota Department of Health during normal business hours: 651-201-5414 or 1-877-676-5414.