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Epidemic Keratoconjunctivitis (EKC)

Epidemic Keratoconjunctivitis (EKC), a contagious, severe form of viral conjunctivitis (“pink eye”) can cause pain and blurred vision. EKC outbreaks are often associated with eye care settings, with investigations of clinic transmission often pointing to contamination of multi-use drops and tonometer devices. Clustered EKC infections should be reported to the appropriate state or local health department.

Featured Resources:

Helpful resources to assist with EKC outbreak investigation include:

  • A sample line list and sample EKC patient notification letter from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health
  • CDC’s resource, Prevent EKC, provides guidance on how to disinfect surfaces and equipment to help prevent and control the spread of EKC in eye clinics
  • A CDC MMWR summary of outbreaks in four states which listed routine measures to prevent EKC including:
    1. strict adherence to hand hygiene among staff members,
    2. use of disposable gloves for any potential contact with eye secretions,
    3. disinfection of ophthalmic instruments after each use (or use of disposable equipment),
    4. cohorting of suspected conjunctivitis patients (separate waiting room, sign-in area, and examination room), and
    5. furloughing of staff members who have signs and symptoms consistent with EKC

In addition, the following CDC outbreak reports describe measures to prevent EKC transmission, such as the use of disposable gloves for potential contact with eye secretions, disposable tonometer tips, disinfectants efficacious against adenoviruses for tonometers and slit lamps, and using single-use eye drops when available:

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CORHA Principles and Practices for Healthcare Outbreak Response


The CORHA Principles and Practices for Healthcare Outbreak Response is a comprehensive reference developed with the aim of equipping public health, healthcare, and other stakeholders with information on a...… Read More »

Sample Epidemic Keratoconjunctivitis (EKC) Line List

This sample line list is a ready-to-use template for healthcare and health agencies to document epidemic keratoconjunctivitis (EKC) outbreak information. Resource Link: Sample EKC Line List (Excel File) Source:...… Read More »

Sample Epidemic Keratoconjunctivitis (EKC) Outbreak Patient Letter

This sample patient notification letter provides sample language for healthcare facilities communicating with patients on epidemic keratoconjunctivitis (EKC) outbreaks. Resource Link: Sample EKC Outbreak Patient Letter (Word File) Source:...… Read More »
Disclaimer: The positions and views expressed in these materials do not necessarily represent the official positions of CORHA’s member organizations.