Health officials in Preah Vihear province recently addressed bacterial conjunctivitis, commonly known as “pink eye”, at the provincial prison, educating inmates and providing treatment after new cases were detected. The province has thus far recorded more than 600 cases, including the 21 new cases at the prison.
Kuong Lo, director of the provincial health department, said on December 5 that while providing treatment, officials also instructed the prison’s 400 inmates on proper hygiene practices to prevent further infections.
"We noted that, following widespread public education and social media intervention throughout the province, there are no new cases in the general population. However, new cases have been identified solely among prison inmates in recent days," he said.
Lo said that after examining, treating and educating detainees on December 4, officials found no additional cases among the prison population.
Despite the absence of new cases, the health department persists in educating and sharing the Ministry of Health's preventive measures through both social media and in-person channels. The efforts aim to prevent new infections and enhance public awareness, emphasising the importance of regular hand hygiene.
Ung Ratana, director of the Ratanakkiri provincial health department, mentioned that since the initial outbreak of conjunctivitis, both provincial authorities and health officials have taken measures to prevent the infectious condition from spreading between villages or citizens. These efforts include public health education measures.
"Currently, the province reports very few new cases – some days two or three, and other days none," he said.
According to the ministry's Department of Communicable Disease Control (CDC), Ratanakkiri province has recorded nearly 100 cases of mild conjunctivitis.
The ministry explained that conjunctivitis spreads through direct contact with an infected person, airborne transmission via coughing or sneezing and contact with surfaces containing the virus transferred to the eyes by touch.
“To prevent conjunctivitis, refrain from touching your eyes with unwashed hands. Avoid sharing personal items used by an infected person, such as pillows, washcloths, towels, eye drops, eye or face makeup, makeup brushes, contact lenses, contact lens storage cases or eyeglasses,” it said.
Symptoms of conjunctivitis include pink or red colouring in the whites of the eyes, swollen eyelids, extreme sensitivity to light and an excess of tear production.
CDC director Ly Sovann said he could not provide specific information on the total number of conjunctivitis infections nationwide without prior consultation with the health ministry.