XML Feed for RxPG News   Add RxPG News Headlines to My Yahoo!   Javascript Syndication for RxPG News

Research Health World General
 Latest Research
 Infectious Diseases
 Respiratory Medicine
 Public Health
 Clinical Trials
 Medical News
 Awards & Prizes
 Special Topics
 Odd Medical News
 World News
  Hemorrhagic Fevers
  Avian Influenza

Last Updated: Aug 19th, 2006 - 22:18:38

Epidemics Channel
subscribe to Epidemics newsletter

World News : Epidemics

   DISCUSS   |   EMAIL   |   PRINT
Singapore facing unprecedented outbreak of Fusarium keratitis
Jun 29, 2006, 04:45, Reviewed by: Dr. Priya Saxena

�We believe that Singapore is facing a new and unprecedented outbreak of Fusarium keratitis and that this is the first time that such an outbreak has been reported among contact lens wearers anywhere in the world,�

Researchers in Singapore have reported an outbreak of Fusarium keratitis (a fungal infection of the cornea) associated with soft contact lens wear and linked with use of certain contact lens cleaning solutions, according to an article in the June 28 issue of JAMA.

Keratitis, an inflammation of the cornea, is a potentially blinding infection and is one of the most severe complications associated with contact lens use. However, outbreaks of fungal keratitis are rare in contact lens wearers. Since March 1, 2005, Singapore has seen a sharp increase in the number of keratitis cases caused by the Fusarium fungus species. Recent reports have also confirmed that 122 patients in the U.S. and 33 in Hong Kong have developed Fusarium keratitis, suggesting that this outbreak may be part of a global problem for contact lens wearers, according to information in the article.

Wei-Boon Khor, M.B.B.S., of the Singapore Eye Research Institute, and colleagues examined the Fusarium keratitis outbreak in Singapore. All cases of fungal keratitis among contact lens wearers from March 2005 through May 2006 were included in the study. Researchers collected corneal samples and patients� contact lenses, lens cases and current bottle of contact lens solution for testing. Telephone interviews were also conducted.

During the 15-month period, 66 contact lens wearers (68 affected eyes) were diagnosed with Fusarium keratitis. From this, the researchers estimated that the annual national incidence of Fusarium keratitis was 2.35 cases for every 10,000 contact lens wearers in Singapore. Nearly all patients wore soft, disposable contact lenses (98.5 percent) and a high proportion (93.9 percent) reported using ReNu brand cleaning solution, including 42 patients (63.6 percent) who reported using ReNu with MoistureLoc. Most patients (81.8 percent) had poor lens hygiene habits, including wearing daily contacts overnight, wearing expired lenses and wearing contacts while swimming. The authors suggest that these habits, however, cannot fully account for the outbreak. Two-thirds of patients (n = 44) had severe, sight-threatening lesions requiring an average first-visit hospital stay of 6.5 days, and five patients required corneal transplantation.

�We believe that Singapore is facing a new and unprecedented outbreak of Fusarium keratitis and that this is the first time that such an outbreak has been reported among contact lens wearers anywhere in the world,� the authors write. �A national case-control study currently under way will shed further light on the probable risk factors for this outbreak, including the role of contact lens solutions.� The authors conclude by encouraging physicians and clinicians to �maintain a high index of suspicion for fungal infection when evaluating and treating patients with contact lens-associated microbial keratitis.�

- June 28 issue of JAMA

JAMA . 2006;295:2867�2873

Subscribe to Epidemics Newsletter
E-mail Address:


The funding and administrative support for this study was provided by the Singapore Eye Research Institute.

Related Epidemics News

Tomatoes in Restaurants Linked to Salmonella Typhimurium Outbreak
Are Flu Vaccines Worth the Effort?
Lessons from SARS may help prepare for bird flu
Incomplete vaccination could worsen the spread of avian flu
Singapore facing unprecedented outbreak of Fusarium keratitis
Scientists aim to thwart use of flu as bioweapon
Pakistani poultry industry demands 10-year tax holiday
Pandemic prevention plan approved for Asia Pacific
H5N1 threat puts human flu back in spotlight
Bird flu hits ninth poultry farm in Pakistan

For any corrections of factual information, to contact the editors or to send any medical news or health news press releases, use feedback form

Top of Page


© Copyright 2004 onwards by RxPG Medical Solutions Private Limited
Contact Us