Conjunctivitis: a new symptom of coronavirus?
International medical entities point to conjunctivitis as a new symptom of the coronavirus. Although the WHO does not include it in its diagnostic protocol, cases have already been confirmed where the only symptom has been red eye.
Conjunctivitis is a new symptom of the coronavirus that has gained a place in the news in recent days. Although it is a symptom that several medical associations have registered since the beginning of the outbreak. Its presence is now confirmed.
In the United States, it was the members of the health teams who first warned. However, neither the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ( CDC ) nor the World Health Organization ( WHO ) has included the symptom as part of the alert list.
There are two articles published in the scientific literature:
A study in the Journal of Medical Virology found SARS-CoV-2 in the ocular secretions of some patients. Suggesting the presence of the coronavirus in the conjunctiva of the eye.
Another study from the New England Journal of Medicine revealed the symptoms of those infected with a laboratory-confirmed in China, and in almost 1% of them registered conjunctival congestion.
What is conjunctivitis?
Conjunctivitis, without taking into account the coronavirus, is one of the most frequent ocular pathologies worldwide. It is generally a mild condition that heals quickly.
Conjunctivitis is an inflammation of the ocular conjunctiva. Which is a very thin mucous membrane that is located inside the eyelids and covering the eyeball on the outside. When inflamed, the tiny blood vessels that are there dilate, and the red-eye appears.
As a new symptom of the coronavirus, conjunctivitis in question must be attributed to SARS-CoV-2. Outside of the current pandemic, conjunctivitis can also be caused by bacteria and environmental substances.
Thus we have that the symptom can be viral, bacterial or allergic. There are also other pathologies associated with conjunctivitis, outside the coronavirus, such as Sjögren’s disease, an autoimmune condition.
What did the American Academy of Ophthalmology say about it?
The American Academy of Ophthalmology released a statement about it, collecting information from health teams. These workers are credited and conjunctivitis is assumed to be a new symptom of coronavirus.
The theory is that the aerosol through which COVID-19 is carried is deposited in the ocular conjunctiva. Remember that the transmission of this virus is carried out by respiratory droplets that spread through the air.
Not only would there be a direct transmission, but we must also consider the particles that are deposited on the surfaces. And we put them to our faces with our hands. That is why it is essential to disinfect environments and wash hands.
According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, if a patient appears with conjunctivitis and fever, plus any respiratory symptoms, he should be immediately suspected of a coronavirus. Even more so if it has an epidemiological link, that is, it has been in contact with geographic areas or infected patients.
Based on all this, the Academy recommends that the health team protect the eyes when performing care, and not just the nose and mouth. This new symptom of the coronavirus modifies the protection measures, making them more stringent.
Other new coronavirus symptoms
In addition to conjunctivitis, other medical associations alerted to symptoms that could be indicative of coronaviruses, without responding to the classic ones. One of them was the Spanish Neurology Society, who in a statement suggested isolating people with the sudden loss of smell, on suspicion of COVID-19.
Along the same lines, digestive disturbances mentioned as new symptoms of coronavirus . Especially diarrhea, which is prevalent in almost 50% of those infected.
What to do when faced with new symptoms of the coronavirus?
Both conjunctivitis, loss of smell and taste, and diarrhea should be considered in the current context. Although the WHO does not yet include them in its list of predominant symptoms, medical associations are recommending that patients with these signs perform the coronavirus test.
When we are in a state of the pandemic, we are forced to take specific measures to reduce the rate of infection. Therefore, the alert is greater than if we lived in other times. And so the attention paid to the symptoms is above average.
If we suffer from these new symptoms of coronavirus, we should consult. Each country has put in place mechanisms for its inhabitants to communicate with health teams before assisting the guards. It is essential to respect these mechanisms when consulting to continue with the quarantines.
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