Samoa Pink Eye Causes School ClosingsBy: Ellisha Rader Mannering - April 10, 2014
Pink eye is a nasty infection of the eye that causes it to appear red, itch and even ooze pus. It is also extremely contagious and can be transferred from person to person through eye fluids. One of the easiest ways it is transferred is by people who do not wash their hands and touch hard surfaces such as door knobs or desktops that contain the fluid or bacteria.
While pink eye is fairly common and usually easy to treat and cure, it has been known to get out of hand and infect a large amount of people at once. An outbreak of pink eye in American Samoa has prompted officials to close all public schools in hopes of preventing more infections. At least 2,500 students and teachers within the school district have contracted pink eye.
“These are alarming numbers of students and staff affected,” Salu Hunkin-Finau, director of the U.S. territory’s Education Department, said. “We are giving our children and all our personnel the days as well as the weekend to take care of themselves and also protect others.”
Over 28 schools on the island have been closed due to the outbreak. At least 13,000 students on the island are enrolled in these schools and the closings include all schools from preschool to high school. Many private schools in the area have also decided to close to help prevent more infections.
“In order to help prevent the further spread of the pink eye virus, we highly recommend that all affected teachers and workers stay home. Please keep your child out of reach of those that are affected by the pink eye,” as spokesperson from the school district said.
Pink eye is caused when a bacteria or virus enters the eye. It is treated with antibiotics and people who are suffering from the infection are encouraged to wash their hands often and avoid contact with others. Most cases cure up within a few days if treated properly.
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