Punjab authorities are struggling to control a viral conjunctivitis (pink eye) outbreak, with reported cases nearing 100,000 in a short time.
The rapid increase in cases reflects the virus’s highly contagious nature. In rare cases, pink eye can cause permanent vision problems due to chronic inflammation of the cornea.
In the last 24 hours, there have been approximately 10,269 reported cases of eye infection, according to sources within the health department. The city of Bahawalpur has the highest number of reported cases, with 1,540 people affected by the infection, followed by Faisalabad with 1,132 cases.
Multan and Rahim Yar Khan have reported 1,048 and 608 cases, respectively, while 452 people in Lahore have been affected by the pink eye infection.
In response to a conjunctivitis outbreak, the Punjab government has decided to close all private and government educational institutions in the province from Thursday, September 28, to Sunday, October 1. This decision was prompted by caretaker Punjab Chief Minister Mohsin Naqvi’s visit to a government school in Lahore, where he expressed concern about students affected by conjunctivitis.
The interim chief minister promptly summoned the secretary of schools and directed that children with the virus should not be allowed to attend school. This decision aims to protect children from the conjunctivitis epidemic in Punjab, according to the secretary of schools.
Conjunctivitis, commonly known as pink eye, is an eye condition caused by infection or allergies. It typically improves within a few weeks without treatment.
CM Naqvi, speaking to the media after visiting the school, noted that conjunctivitis is spreading rapidly in schools, with six to seven children in each class affected by the condition. He mentioned that starting Monday, strict Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) will be enforced in all educational institutions across the province. Teachers will examine every child’s eyes at the school entrance.
Conjunctivitis, also known as pink eye, typically affects both eyes and leads to symptoms such as redness, burning or grittiness, pus that sticks to lashes, itching, and watering.