In a press release dated Monday, October 30, Manaouda Malachie, the Minister of Public Health (Minsanté), emphasized the critical importance of adhering to preventive measures against diseases transmitted through respiratory or lacrimal secretions. This call comes in the wake of an ongoing conjunctivitis epidemic in Cameroon. The release outlined key precautions, including maintaining hand hygiene through regular washing with clean water and soap, or the use of a hydroalcoholic solution. It further advised against rubbing the eyes or touching the face when symptoms appear and recommended the exclusion of affected individuals from school and work environments. Additionally, it urged the limitation of close contact with those suffering from conjunctivitis and the use of disposable towels or handkerchiefs.
He also reminded healthcare personnel of the need to uphold infection prevention and control protocols. Popularly referred to as "Apollo," conjunctivitis typically manifests with eye redness and may be accompanied by symptoms such as itching, clear or purulent discharge, eyelid adhesions, and blurred vision. "While being a relatively mild ailment, conjunctivitis is highly contagious and is typically of viral origin during epidemics," the official indicated.
According to specialists, conjunctivitis outbreaks commonly arise from the transmission of highly contagious viruses through close interpersonal contact. They survive for several hours in the outdoor environment and can be transmitted indirectly via contaminated objects (door handles, utensils, handkerchiefs, towels, etc.).
In his release, the Minsanté does not specify the number of cases reported to date. He simply points out that many schools are conjunctivitis clusters. "Given this circumstance, which poses a substantial risk of community transmission, particularly within educational institutions and workplaces, Minsanté urges individuals to promptly seek medical attention at the nearest healthcare facility should they exhibit any related symptoms," his release reads.
Patricia Ngo Ngouem