Friday, October 26, 2007


Aww, I feel like pink eye is something that everyone can relate to as being super crappy :( -Raquel

Date: Thu 25 Oct 2007
Source: The Saipan Times [edited]

Pink eye, a viral eye infection that could lead to vision loss, is
sweeping through public schools in the CNMI [Commonwealth of the
Northern Mariana Islands], with 323 cases among its students and some
teachers. According to a Public School System report obtained by the
Saipan Tribune yesterday, [Wed 24 Oct 2007] at least 6 schools on
Saipan and one on Rota have reported schoolchildren and teachers
contracting the eye disease.

Kagman Elementary School posted the highest number of pink eye
infections with 87 cases, 2 of them teachers. The majority of the
infected children are in 3rd grade, totaling 20, while 17 are
kindergarten pupils. Following Kagman Elementary School is the
William S. Reyes Elementary School (WSR) with 80 cases: 75 students
and 5 teachers. Of these, 16 are 2nd grade students, while 15 are in
6th grade. Oleai Elementary School recorded 79 schoolchildren with
pink eye. No teachers there have been infected. Garapan Elementary
School reported 36 cases, while Dandan Elementary School has 35.
Gregorio T. Camacho Elementary School (GES) only has 5 cases, while
Sinapalo Elementary School on Rota reported one case.

WSR Elementary School vice principal Naomi Nishimura told Saipan
Tribune that a child who exhibits early signs of the infection is
usually brought to the main office for observation. If confirmed, the
school requires the child's parents to pick up the child from school.
Nishimura said parents are advised to have the child's eye checked in
an eye clinic and for the student to refrain from going to school
until the infection disappears. Those with severe eye infections take
about a week to completely recover. To make up for missing regular
classes, "the teachers provide assignments to students while they
stay home," she said.

GES principal Boni R. Gomez said whenever a student shows early signs
of the infection, teachers refer them to the school nurse, who
assesses whether the infection is only redness, the result of an
allergy, or the onset of pink eye. Once found to be a pink eye
infection, the student is advised to go home for proper treatment and recovery.

Marianas Eye Institute director David Khorram, M.D. said his clinic
has been receiving at least 12 patients a day for pink eye treatment
and consultations. Most patients complain of pain and itchiness in
their eyes. Khorram said the current outbreak is one of the more
severe forms of pink eye infection, falling into a class known as
"hemorrhagic epidemic kerato-conjunctivitis," with blood in the eyes.
The eye specialist said the disease is caused by a virus that could
be transmitted through physical contact. The symptoms of the
infection include redness of the eyes, extreme irritation, swelling
of the eyes, photosensitivity, and the presence of tears.

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