The public is strongly encouraged to adopt a consistent handwashing routine as a measure to address the rising cases of Acute Hemorrhagic Conjunctivitis, commonly known as Apollo. Over 50% of reported eye cases at the Police Hospital’s eye clinic are attributed to Apollo, and health authorities are warning of its rapid spread throughout all 16 regions of the country.
Dr. Franklin Asiedu-Bekoe, the Director of Public Health at the Ghana Health Service, emphasized the importance of refraining from touching one’s eyes and advocated for the promotion of regular handwashing as preventive measures. He stated, “This is all about prevention—how can we ensure that people avoid touching their eyes? We also need to promote handwashing.”
Acute Hemorrhagic Conjunctivitis, or Apollo, is a severe viral form of pink eye that can lead to symptoms such as eyelid swelling, eye discharge, and bleeding. While there is no cure, treatments are available to help manage the symptoms until the virus clears.
Conjunctivitis, commonly known as “pink eye,” refers to the inflammation of the conjunctiva, a thin membrane covering the eyeball and inner eyelid. This inflammation is often caused by infections, allergens, or toxins. Specific viruses can trigger a particular type of conjunctivitis known as Acute Hemorrhagic Conjunctivitis (AHC).
In some regions of West Africa, AHC is colloquially referred to as “Apollo 11 disease” because it was first identified in Ghana in 1969, the same year as the historic moon landing.
AHC typically presents as a much more severe form of conjunctivitis, with symptoms including painful swelling and noticeable bleeding in and around the eye.