The conjunctivitis, or pink eye outbreak in Thailand has affected 10s of thousands of people in the South Asian country since the beginning of the year, according to Chulalongkorn University scientists.

In a letter to Pro Med mail Tuesday, they write:


The Department of Disease Control, a division of the Thai Ministry of Public Health, recently reported that the number of pink eye (conjunctivitis) patients (from 1 Jan-1 Sep 2014) has increased to 160 906 cases from all 77 provinces of Thailand. The estimated attack rate was 253 per 100 000 in the overall population. Most cases were between the ages of 35-45 (12.4 per cent), followed by cases in the age groups 45-54 and 25-34. The 5 provinces in Thailand with the highest rate are Ubon Ratchathani (827 cases per 100 000), followed by Ranong, Amnat Charoen, Pattani, and Phatthalung. Ubon Ratchathani and Amnat Charoen are contiguous provinces located in the northeast, while the remaining 3 are southern provinces.

Coxsackievirus A24 has been identified as the etiologic agent of the outbreak.

Conjunctivitis caused by viruses can be extremely contagious. Common viral agents are of the adenovirus, enterovirus, and coxsackievirus species. Infections are common during the rainy season in Thailand (June-September). In addition to the redness of the transparent membrane that covers the white part of the eyeball (conjunctiva), symptoms may include swelling, irritation, pus and mucus discharge. Outbreaks often are associated with close contact in community settings such as schools, day care, and swimming pools. Although the infection is self-limited, good hand-washing hygiene and avoiding contact and sharing of personal items with infected individuals during the symptomatic phase are important factors in limiting its spread. For more infectious disease news and information, visit and “like” the Infectious Disease News Facebook page