Outpatient human coronavirus associated conjunctivitis in India.

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TitleOutpatient human coronavirus associated conjunctivitis in India.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2022
AuthorsN Prajna V, Lalitha P, Teja GVishnu, Gunasekaran R, Sharma SS, Hinterwirth A, Ruder K, Zhong L, Chen C, Deiner M, Huang CH, Pinsky BA, Lietman TM, Seitzman GD, Doan T
Corporate AuthorsSCORPIO(Seasonal Conjunctivitis Outbreak Reporting for Prevention and Improved Outcomes) Study Group
JournalJ Clin Virol
Date Published2022 Sep 27

BACKGROUND: Viral conjunctivitis (pink eye) can be highly contagious and is of public health importance. There remains significant debate whether SARS-CoV-2 can present as a primary conjunctivitis. The aim of this study was to identify pathogens associated with outpatient infectious conjunctivitis during the COVID-19 Delta surge.

METHODS: This prospective study was conducted in the spring and summer months of 2021. 106 patients with acute conjunctivitis who presented to the Aravind Eye Center in Madurai, India were included. One anterior nasal swab and one conjunctival swab of each eye were obtained for each enrolled patient. Samples were subsequently processed for unbiased metagenomic RNA deep sequencing (RNA-seq). Outcomes included clinical findings and codetection of other pathogens with SARS-CoV-2 in patients with conjunctivitis.

RESULTS: Among the 13 patients identified with human coronavirus RNA fragments in their swabs, 6 patients had SARS-CoV-2 infection, 5 patients had coinfections of SARS-CoV-2 and human adenovirus (HAdV), 1 patient had a coinfection with human coronavirus OC43 and HAdV, and 1 patient had a coinfection of Vittaforma corneae and SARS-CoV-2. 30% had bilateral disease and symptoms on presentation. Petechial hemorrhage was noted in 33% of patients with SARS-CoV-2 infection. No patients with SARS-CoV-2 or SARS-CoV-2 and HAdV infections had subepithelial infiltrates on presentation. All patients denied systemic symptoms.

CONCLUSIONS: Among the patients presented with conjunctivitis associated with human coronavirus infection, over 50% of the patients had co-infections with other circulating pathogens, suggesting the public-health importance of broad pathogen testing and surveillance in the outpatient conjunctivitis population.

Alternate JournalJ Clin Virol
PubMed ID36209621