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Monday, Oct. 20, 2014

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Conjunctivitis update, March 21

Physicians at University Health Services are working with officials from the Centers for Disease Control and state and local health agencies to learn more about the outbreak of conjunctivitis on the Princeton campus and to try to stop its spread.

There have been 289 patients who have been treated for conjunctivitis, commonly known as pink eye, on the campus between Feb. 1 and March 20, said Dr. Pamela Bowen, health services director. Those affected include students from all four undergraduate classes and a small number of graduate students.

Conjunctivitis is an inflammation of the conjunctiva, the clear mucous membrane that covers the white part of the eyeball and the inside of the eyelid. It is most often caused by a bacterial or viral infection, or an allergic reaction. The inflammation of conjunctivitis makes it an irritating condition but it is usually harmless to sight.

Health officials are trying to determine whether the illness is related to a similar outbreak at Dartmouth College. Cultures are being taken from some of the affected Princeton students in an attempt to identify the organism, and the results received so far have been mixed. Preliminary evidence points to a bacterial infection.

Conjunctivitis is extremely contagious, and it is important to seek diagnosis and treatment. Click here to view the symptoms and tips for prevention and self-care. The information also is being posted in living areas across campus, as well as at Dillon Gymnasium and the Frist Campus Center.

Campus community members who experience symptoms should contact Health Services at 258-3141 or 258-3139.

Contact: Marilyn Marks (609) 258-3601

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