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January 1976

Acute Hemorrhagic Conjunctivitis in Tunisia: Report of Viral Isolations

Author Affiliations

From the Francis I. Proctor Foundation for Research in Ophthalmology and the Department of Ophthalmology, University of California, San Francisco (Drs Whitcher and Dawson); the Viral and Rickettsial Disease Laboratory, State of California Department of Health, Berkeley (Dr; Schmidt); the Institut d'Ophtalmologie de Tunis (Drs Mabrouk, Messadi, and Daghfous); and the Indian Health Service, Public Health Service, Bethesda, Md (Dr Hoshiwara).

Arch Ophthalmol. 1976;94(1):51-55. doi:10.1001/archopht.1976.03910030017006

• Acute hemorrhagic conjunctivitis (AHC), a new disease entity first reported in 1969, has since become pandemic throughout the world. In Tunisia during an epidemic in 1972 to 1973 we studied 25 cases of AHC, which were characterized by explosive onset of lid edema, chemosis, conjunctival hemorrhages, follicular hypertrophy, and epithelial keratitis. Clinical signs peaked in 48 hours and cleared without sequelae in five to seven days.

Paired acute- and convalescent-phase sera from six of the patients showed a rising titer of neutralizing antibody to the prototype strain of AHC virus (J6 70/71), which was isolated in Japan. Two viral isolates from Tunisian patients were also antigenically related to the Japanese strain, indicating that a single etiologic agent (a new member of the picornavirus group) is probably responsible for the current pandemic of AHC.

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