Cases of eye ailment SHAPU reported

Kathmandu, August 28

Tilganga Institute of Ophthalmology has confirmed an early outbreak of Seasonal Hyperacute Panuveitis (SHAPU), a sight-threatening ocular disease, in Kathmandu.

Though SHAPU epidemic strikes the country between October and December, this year such cases have been reported in August. “Six SHAPU patients, including five children, have been receiving treatment. Children below the age of one have also been infected with the disease,” TIO stated.

SHAPU was first reported in Nepal in 1978. Though its definite cause is yet to be known, it is more prevalent during rainy season when the population of moths is high. Almost all patients affected by the disease have informed the doctors about their history of contact with moths at home. TIO suggested moths could be the source of the disease.

TIO advised parents to prevent their children from coming in contact with moths. Doctors suggested all to sleep under mosquito net and not to use white light lamps or CFL as they attract moths, as part of preventive measures against the disease.

According to TIO, timely and early vitrectomy, the surgical operation of removing the vitreous humour from the eyeball, is a useful procedure for the treatment of SHAPU and helps restore the patients’ vision fully or partially. Patients may suffer permanent loss of sight if the treatment is delayed.

Sudden onset of redness, leukocoria (when one shines a bright light on the pupil, it normally appears red. In leukocoria, the light makes the pupil look white) in one eye with minimal pain in and around the affected eye, and sudden loss or drastic diminution of vision with no eye wax are the common symptoms of SHAPU. “Any person developing such symptoms should be taken to their nearest eye treatment centre or ophthalmologist for timely treatment,” advised TIO.