Epidemic Keratoconjunctivitis (EKC)

Epidemic keratoconjunctivitis (EKC) is a viral conjunctivitis. It is one of the most common diseases. Epidemic keratoconjunctivitis is highly contagious and has a tendency to occur in epidemics.

  1. Redness. This starts in one eye and may spread to the other eye.
  2. Itchiness and irritation. This is similar to when dust gets in your eye.
  3. Sensitivity to light. The eye will be irritated and tear up a lot.
  4. Swelling of the eyelids.
  5. When waking up, there will be excess mucus in the eye. The eyelids may stick together and be difficult to open.
  6. Lymph nodes in front of the ears become swollen. Pressure on the lymph nodes causes pain.
Epidemic keratoconjunctivitis is caused by adenovirus serotypes 8, 19, and 37. The incubation period is 2-14 days. It is highly contagious. It can be spread from one person to another directly from hand to eye, or indirectly from the swimming pool. Epidemic keratoconjunctivitis spreads very quickly. In Thailand, the disease usually spreads in the rainy season and is found in children more than adults. It is most likely to be spread in schools, workplaces and hospitals.
It may spread to the cornea. In some cases, the cornea may be infected for several months.
Epidemic keratoconjunctivitis can be resolved by itself. If it infects in the conjunctiva, this will take 2-3 weeks and in the cornea, this will take a month. Just like any other viral infection, there is no specific treatment. It is treated according to its symptoms, including cold compresses to reduce swelling, using artificial tears, or applying antihistamine eye drops to reduce itchiness. Antibiotics should be used when there are complications from bacteria. Eye drop containing steroids should be used only in patients with serious swelling in the conjunctiva or inflammation in the cornea. However, all medical treatment should be administered by an ophthalmologist. Using medications without prescription, the patient may suffer from the disease longer or have more serious side effects from the medications, such as shingles in the eye.
  • Do not share your personal belongings such as handkerchiefs, pillows, clothes or any other personal belongings.
  • Do not rub your eyes or use dirty cloth when there is something in your eye.
  • Do not use anyone else’s eye drops.
  • Clean your hands regularly.

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