News Alerts

26 Sep 2017 | 12:39 PM UTC

Belize: Conjunctivitis outbreak

Belize News Alert

Conjunctivitis outbreak ongoing, 1100 cases reported in three weeks; take hygienic precautions

TIMEFRAME expected from 9/26/2017, 12:00 AM until 10/3/2017, 11:59 PM (America/Belize). COUNTRY/REGION Belize


A conjunctivitis (pink eye) outbreak is ongoing in Belize. In the past three weeks (as of September 26), 1108 cases have been reported nationwide in what government officials are calling the worst such outbreak since 2005. Cases have been reported in Belize City, Corozal, Cayo, Chetumal, and Orange Walk, among other places.


Conjunctivitis is an eye infection where the thin membrane that covers the white of the eye and the interior of the eye lids - the conjunctiva - becomes inflamed. Symptoms include watery eyes, discharge, discomfort, sensitively to light, subconjunctival hemorrhaging, and itchiness. Conjunctivitis is highly contagious and can be caused by bacterial or viral infections; only the bacterial version is treatable.

Numerous other Caribbean and Central American countries have also been reporting outbreaks of the disease since late 2016. 


Individuals in Belize are advised to minimize direct contact with others (e.g. avoid handshakes) and to wash hands frequently.


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