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Apollo eye disease hits northern region; Ghana health service unaware of outbreak



Eye clinics in the northern region have come under intense pressure, following an outbreak of Apollo eye disease that has hit the Tamale metropolis. Many are describing it as Apollo, while others are describing it as trachoma or cataract.

Zaa News checks at the Out-Patients Department of the West, Central and the Tamale Teaching Hospitals, indicate a large number people are trooping to their eye clinics as a result of the eye disease.

Areas such as Nyohini, Gumbihini, Changli and Saŋani, among others, are said to be the worst hit by the Apollo disease.

Affected people have resorted to self-medication, which could lead to major eye problems, if care is not taken, health professionals cautioned. Most of the affected people, mostly women and children told Zaa News they contracted it from people with the disease in their various homes.

According to them, they woke up with their eyes swollen and inching with their eye balls reddish. None of them, however, could explain the symptoms of the disease.

The northern regional health directorate’s attention is yet to be drawn to the worrying disease, when Zaa News contacted the surveillance unit of the directorate in Tamale. Nursing mothers with the disease are transferring it to their babies.

The Medical officer in charge at the Tamale Central Hospital Eye Clinic, Dr Daniel Opoku Gyamfi who confirmed the outbreak to Zaa News explained that people with Apollo must avoid sharing towels and handkerchiefs with unaffected persons.

Dr Daniel explained that Central hospital has recorded only two nursing mothers with Apollo out of about 50 to 60.

“In the past few weeks we been seeing a lot more patients than we normal see in the clinic and this is because of the outbreak of Apollo,” Dr Daniel confirmed.

“It is acute haemorhagic conngunctivicis which causes severe pain which is a viral. People with the virus complain of severe pain in the eye, running eyes while some complain of headache and pain when they bend down,” he continued.

According to him, many people are not aware that the region has not recorded any Apollo case for about a year now.

Tamale Teaching Hospital cases: Mr Abdul Ganiu Sualihu, eye nurse at the Tamale Teaching Hospital eye clinic told Zaa News that the clinic records at least 10 cases on a daily basis which he said was worrying to eye nurses.

He, however, dismissed claims that looking directly into a person infect with Apollo could lead to one contracting the diseases, explaining that it is only when one touches an affected eye and does not wash their hands and use same to touch their eyes.

The maximum time the diseases lasts in the eye is five days and does not necessarily lead to any complicated eye problem, Mr Sualihu stated.

“We are worried about the cases we are recording and people need to wary about Apollo,” Mr Sualihu lamented.

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