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Etiological Analysis of Epidemic Keratoconjuctivitis in Belesa Area of North Gondar Zone, Ethiopia

Afwork Kassu
Tilfework Woldetensai
Maru Mesfin
Abraham Aseffa


Background and objective: An epidemic of purulent keratoconjunctivitis occurred in rural North Ethiopia in 1997. A study of the aetiology of this rapidly blinding disease in one area of the epidemic zone is reported here.

Patients and methods: Fifty-two patients, who came to the Zoha-Hamusit health station of Belesa district, North Gondar Zone with conjunctivitis in November 1997 were examined by an ophthalmologist and eye specimens were collected from sixteen of these for bacteriological analyses. Following standard procedures bacteria were isolated and their antibiotic sensitivity pattern was studied for seven commonly used drugs in the area.

Results: Nine specimens yielded Staphylococcus aureus followed by Neisseria gonorrhoeae from seven. Two isolates of S. aureus were found to be resistant to tetracycline and chloramphenicol.

Conclusion: It is likely that the epidemic was due to N. gonorrhoeae and S. aureus. Therefore, continued surveillance combining clinical, laboratory and epidemiological approaches is highly necessary for understanding and managing the problems of such kind before it is too late. In addition, health education on personal hygiene and, provision of sufficient water and environmental sanitary measures is highly recommended to control and stop the spread.

Key words: Keratoconjunctivitis, epidemics, Neisseria gonorrhoeae, Staphylococcus aureus, North Gondar, Ethiopia.

[J Ethiop Med Pract,2001;3(1): 21-23]

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eISSN: 1560-1560