The number of conjunctivitis, or “pinkeye” cases reported in Panama now stands at 74,661 through mid-September, according to the Panama Ministry of Health (computer translated).

Image/Video Screen Shot
Image/Video Screen Shot

The areas where the most cases have been reported are Colón (7057), San Miguelito (14050), Panama Oeste (12313), and Panama Metro (17300).

Fortunately, health officials are reporting a decrease in cases in all regions of the country.

The director general of health of the Ministry of Health, Itza Barahona de Mosca, hopes that soon the cases drop to their normal behavior at the national level.

The age groups most affected with this virus are those under five, followed by the group aged 20-49. It should be noted that the age group of 25-34 and 35-49 represent active labor groups and require certified justification for their absence from work.

The Ministry of Health, as the governing body of health in Panama, has intensified its outreach campaign and reiterates the call to the population to adopt and maintain prevention and control measures avoiding that conjunctivitis continues to propagate following these recommendations:

• Frequent hand washing with soap and water, or use of alcohol gel.

• Avoid touching your eyes.

• It is recommended to use disposable tissues to dry the ocular secretions and discard them appropriately immediately after use.

• Cover your nose and mouth when you cough and sneeze with tissues or your forearm, never use your palms.

• Do not share personal items such as: glasses, contact lenses, sunglasses, cloths, hand towels or tissues.

• People with conjunctivitis should stay home, and only go out to see the doctor until the signs and symptoms have disappeared. They should not attend schools, work, shopping centers, or social events or make unnecessary exits of the residence.

• Do not self-medicate or share eye drops.

Likewise, it is recommended that all the population go to their Health Center, Polyclinic or private doctor if they present the following symptoms:

• Red eyes with or without the sensation of “grit”, or other discomfort.

• Swollen eyelids.

• Itching or pain in one or both eyes.

It is important to mention that the acute conjunctivitis epidemic is not an exclusive event or only occurs in Panama. The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO / WHO) has reported that in other countries of the Region of the Americas similar situations have been detected during this year.