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Tuesday, Sept. 30, 2014

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Hand sanitizer to be distributed to curtail conjunctivitis outbreak

In an effort to decrease the spread of conjunctivitis on campus, Princeton University health services will provide all students and staff with a free bottle of Care Instant Hand Sanitizer (waterless soap).

The outbreak of conjunctivitis, also known as pink eye, has continued after spring break, although at a lower rate than before the break. From the beginning of February through April 9, health services has seen 395 cases of the disease in students. An additional 35 cases have been seen in employees.

The hand sanitizer, which has been supplied by Caligor Distributors and Medical Packaging, contains an alcohol-based gel which may limit the spread of infections.

One bottle will be placed in each undergraduate student's mailbox this week, along with an information sheet about its use. A bottle will be placed in the mailboxes of graduate students who live in the Graduate College. Mail services has begun distributing these bottles today.

Graduate students who live elsewhere and University employees will need to visit McCosh Health Center to pick up their free bottles of hand sanitizer.

Students and staff are advised to continue to follow health services' tips for prevention and treatment . Washing your hands frequently with soap and water is one of the recommendations. The hand sanitizer will not be placed in University washrooms, because it is intended for use when soap and water are not available.

In addition, the Centers for Disease Control, working with health services, has developed a short Web-based survey to help determine risk factors and develop potential public health preventive measures for conjunctivitis. Dr. Bowen requests that University students complete the survey , whether or not they have had pink eye.

Of the 24 cultures done on campus patients, 12 tested positive for Streptococcus pneumoniae. Further testing by the Centers for Disease Control shows this to be the same organism that was identified at Dartmouth College.

Contact: Marilyn Marks (609) 258-3601

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