Period of communicability days from the start of symptoms

Occurrence and distribution It occurs in epidemic form infecting a large number of people in the immediate vicinity. Epidemics have been mainly in tropical cities in Africa, Asia, South America, the Caribbean and Pacific Islands.

Control and prevention Careful hand-washing, use of separate towels and sterilization of ophthalmologic instruments are important in preventing transmission. Methods to improve hygiene and reduce overcrowding will prevent major epidemics.

Treatment There is no treatment, so mass administration of eye ointment is not applicable.

Surveillance The first cases of an epidemic should be notified centrally and neighbouring countries warned.

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