Malawi's viral conjunctivitis outbreak surges to 13,400 cases

Viral conjunctivitis continues to surge in Malawi, with over 13,400 confirmed cases since the first cases were reported in the northern border district of Karonga in mid-February.

The outbreak has now spread to 26 out of the country's 28 districts, according to health authorities. As of Saturday, a total of 13,419 cases had been recorded.

While no deaths have been recorded thus far, cases of vision loss have been reported in some districts, particularly in Karonga. In early March, Health Minister Khumbize Kandodo Chiponda advised the public to avoid handshaking and adhere to hygienic practices to prevent further spread of the eye disease.

Symptoms of the disease include pink or red discoloration in the white part of the eye, itching, persistent tearing, eye discharge, swelling of the eye lining, visual disturbances and painful eyes, among others.