Conjunctivitis (often called “pink eye”) is an inflammation of the conjunctiva, which is the mucous membrane covering the white part of the eye and the inner side of the eyelid.
The most common form of conjunctivitis is caused by adenoviral infection. This type of conjunctivitis may also spread to affect the cornea (keratitis), and may persist for several weeks and cause hazy vision. Since the disease is often epidemic in nature, it is called epidemic keratoconjunctivitis – EKC is a serious and contagious form of conjunctivitis (conjunctiva and cornea). The latest outbreak of adenoviral conjunctivitis in northern Germany in December 2012 was a major topic in the daily news. A report by the public German TV station ARD (in German) can be found here. The majority of cases of EKC are believed to be caused by a select species of D viruses, including Ad8, Ad19 and Ad37.
- Symptoms of EKC include acute onset of watering redness, foreign body sensation and severe pain, diminished eyesight, tearing, and sensitivity to light
- In approximately 20-50% of patients, an immune T cell mediated infiltration of the corneal stroma that results in deteriorating vision is observed.
- Millions of patients suffer from viral conjunctivitis
- Viral conjunctivitis can occur in any age group
- No antiviral treatment is available