The local residents are not worried or anxious over the dull election fever here, but are worried by a rare form of conjunctivitis which has infected a sizable number of people in the past one week.
Though the outbreak has not assumed the proportions of an epidemic, eye doctors have warned that infected persons should seek medical help immediately to prevent the spread of the infection.
Dr Mohamed Sayee, an ophthalmologist, here, has said, “The present outbreak of conjunctivitis is unusual, not seen in the past decades in and around Vellore.”
“We used to get cases during the seasonal transition, especially during the rainy or winter season in the months of September-December. But the emergence of cases in the month of March, that too when it was not raining, is something unusual,” he added.
“Interestingly, the outbreak is restricted to Vellore city and suburbs,” he said.
The doctor said the mornings continued to be chill while the weather in the day was getting hotter, which must be conducive to the virus to sustain, he added.He said that from what he could observe, the trend of the conjunctivitis was changing and it was no more restricted to seasonal variations or was linked to rains as it had appeared during the summer. The virus, probably a mutated variation of the original one, sustained upto four to 10 days. The good thing is that the increasing awareness to seek immediate medical help has helped in curbing the spread of the disease to a large extent, he added.
Going by the mild virility of the virus, the infected persons with symptoms of irritation of eyes, swelling or discharge from eyes, etc need not fear as better medicines were available for cure. But they should ensure personal hygiene and avoid self-medication. They should also keep their hands and faces clean. The infection spreads through direct contact, hence infected persons should avoid sharing of handkerchief and towels or hand-shaking, Sayee added.