Eye infection caused by soil: MOH

SINGAPORE - The eye infection that hit 40 students from Hong Kong who were in Singapore for a rugby tournament in April was caused by mud entering their eyes, The Ministry of Health concluded.

They were aged nine to 16 and were here from April 20 to 22 for a rugby tournament involving 1,600 youth players from 16 rugby clubs from Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Australia and the UAE .

The Straits Times quoted a spokesman from the ministry saying that such infections are 'known to occur in Singapore'.

"Two studies of microsporidial keratoconjunctivitis cases by ophthalmologists in Singapore identified prior soil or mud contamination in the eye as important risk factors," the spokesman said.

It was reported that the investigations revealed that microspordial spores were responsible for the case.

The spores are common in Singapore soil and not limited to Turf City pitches.

he spokesman said that to reduce such risks the public should avoid playing on muddy or waterlogged pitches. They can also reduce such risks by washing their face and hands thoroughly after playing.

abrahamr@sph.com.sg

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