American Samoa schools reopen after pink eye woes

April 15, 2014 by Fili Sagapolutele

Public schools in American Samoa fully reopened Monday after some 3,000 students and teachers contracted pink eye, an outbreak that prompted tourism officials to warn cruise passengers heading to the group of islands in the South Pacific.

Schools in the U.S. territory's main island of Tutuila reopened for the first time since April 4. They make up the bulk of the 28 facilities that shut their doors on the islands about halfway between New Zealand and Hawaii. Students at four schools got back to class last week.

Education Department Director Salu Hunkin-Finau said the closures helped minimize the outbreak by preventing students and staff from spreading the condition.

She says students and teachers who still have should stay home. Hunkin-Finau herself was home sick Monday, recovering from "the tail end of pink eye" and bronchitis.

Conjunctivitis, better known as pink eye, is a common eye condition and can be extremely contagious. It inflames tissue on the eyeball and lining the eyelid, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.

Meanwhile, the territory's Health Department was setting up sanitation stations at its port, where a cruise liner called the Golden Princess with more than 2,500 passengers aboard is scheduled to arrive Tuesday, said David Vaeafe, executive director of the American Samoa Visitors Bureau.

Agents for the Princess Cruises vessel traveling from Maui have been told about the outbreak, as have agents for two other cruises scheduled to arrive this month.

"Health officials will be at the sanitation station throughout the eight hours the Golden Princess is in port," Vaeafe said Monday.

The outbreak also has affected some court cases and a handful of passengers trying to board flights to Honolulu.

Health officials in the territory have said the is a nuisance but not particularly dangerous.

Explore further: Pink eye extends school closures in American Samoa

Related Stories

Pink eye extends school closures in American Samoa

April 9, 2014
American Samoa is keeping most schools closed for the rest of the week as the U.S. territory tries to contain a pink eye outbreak that has affected about 2,300 students, disrupted court hearings and kept some passengers from ...

Cruise ship returns to Texas with 170 sick aboard

January 31, 2014
More than 170 passengers and crew members have fallen sick aboard a cruise ship, prompting it to return two days early to a Houston-area port.

More than 100 get virus on California cruise

April 11, 2014
A cruise line says more than 100 passengers have now contracted the highly contagious norovirus as a ship tours California ports, but fewer than 15 are still complaining of symptoms.

US officials probe illnesses on Caribbean cruise (Update)

January 26, 2014
U.S. health officials on Sunday boarded a cruise ship docked in the U.S. Virgin Islands to investigate an illness outbreak that has stricken at least 300 people with gastrointestinal symptoms including vomiting and diarrhea.

Suspected norovirus hits 400 on two Christmas cruises

December 30, 2012
An outbreak of vomiting and diarrhea has sickened more than 400 vacationers and crew members aboard two Christmas-time cruises in the Caribbean, the CDC said Saturday.

Meningitis death tied to last year's NJ outbreak

March 18, 2014
Federal health officials say a Philadelphia college student died of the same type of meningitis that caused an outbreak last year at Princeton University in New Jersey.

Recommended for you

Onions could hold key to fighting antibiotic resistance

January 22, 2018
A type of onion could help the fight against antibiotic resistance in cases of tuberculosis, a UCL and Birkbeck-led study suggests.

New long-acting approach for malaria therapy developed

January 22, 2018
A new study, published in Nature Communications, conducted by the University of Liverpool and the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine highlights a new 'long acting' medicine for the prevention of malaria.

Virus shown to be likely cause of mystery polio-like illness

January 22, 2018
A major review by UNSW researchers has identified strong evidence that a virus called Enterovirus D68 is the cause of a mystery polio-like illness that has paralysed children in the US, Canada and Europe.

Study ends debate over role of steroids in treating septic shock

January 19, 2018
The results from the largest ever study of septic shock could improve treatment for critically ill patients and save health systems worldwide hundreds of millions of dollars each year.

New approach could help curtail hospitalizations due to influenza infection

January 18, 2018
More than 700,000 Americans were hospitalized due to illnesses associated with the seasonal flu during the 2014-15 flu season, according to federal estimates. A radical new approach to vaccine development at UCLA may help ...

Flu may be spread just by breathing, new study shows; coughing and sneezing not required

January 18, 2018
It is easier to spread the influenza virus (flu) than previously thought, according to a new University of Maryland-led study released today. People commonly believe that they can catch the flu by exposure to droplets from ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.