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Experts: In rare cases, pink eye was an early warning sign of coronavirus

Experts: In rare cases, pink eye was an early warning sign of coronavirus
(Photo: ISDH)

HOUSTON (KHOU11) — There’s another possible symptom to add to the list of early warning signs of coronavirus.

Conjunctivitis, commonly known as pink eye, has been seen in some patients, although it's rare.

But if you have pink eye -- along with other common symptoms like fever, dry cough and shortness of breath -- you should call your doctor.

On March 30, the American Academy of Opthalmology alerted doctors that patients who need to be treated for pink eye—who also have a fever and respiratory symptoms and/or have traveled to high-risk areas -- may have COVID-19. As a result, they warned doctors to cover their mouth, nose and eyes when treating these patients, and to disinfect tools and office areas well afterward.

“It isn’t surprising that coronavirus could cause this symptom,” Dr. Richard Watkins, infectious disease physician and professor of internal medicine at Northeast Ohio Medical University, told Prevention.

Neither the CDC nor World Health Organization has confirmed pink eye as a symptom of coronavirus.

But experts say it wouldn’t be surprising.