Abnormally high rates of conjunctivitis have been reported in Guadeloupe, with rates above the epidemic threshold observed since late 2016. According to health officials, between 500 and 600 new cases are currently being detected on a weekly basis across the French overseas department (DOM).
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 and discharge, discomfort, and itchiness. Conjunctivitis is highly contagious and can be caused by bacterial or viral infections; the bacterial version is treatable with antibiotics.
Individuals in affected areas are advised to minimize contact with others (e.g. avoid handshakes) and to wash hands frequently.