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Conjunctivitis outbreak, Madinah, 2018


Conjunctivitis occurs worldwide and affects all social strata, ages and genders. An outbreak of conjunctivitis reported from a camp of Saudi Civil Defense, Madinah. We sought to identify risk factors associated with this outbreak.


We conducted a case-control study in the camp of Saudi Civil Defense. For each case, we selected two controls from the same brigade and area of the cases. Structured self reported questionnaire distributed among cases and selected controls to be filled up.


From 554 students in the camp, 22 cases identified with red-eye. The epidemic curve showed two peaks, which indicates the most likely person to person epidemic curve. The mean (±SD) age of cases was 24.4 years (±2.2). The most common symptoms reported by the cases were itching (59%), eye discharge (82%), epiphora (73%), cold (68%) and lymphadenopathy (82%). Strong association (odds ratio 15.56) between cases and history of direct contact with known case of conjunctivitis, where 91% of the cases reported having direct contact with a known case of conjunctivitis compared to 33% of controls.


The primary risk factor was the direct contact with a known conjunctivitis case. Keeping high traffic areas clean and disinfected with proper ventilation can reduce the spread of infections among staff and students in crowded area. Hand hygiene is key in preventing cross-contamination.