In a new scientific statement, researchers warn that conjunctivitis, also known as pink eye, can be an early sign of COVID-19 in some people.
They suggest that eye doctors wear full facial protection covering eyes, ears, and mouth in their work.
This is particularly important when their patients have this inflammation of the thin, transparent tissue that lines eyelids and part of the eye and also have a fever and respiratory symptoms.
The statement is issued by The American Academy of Ophthalmology.
The team cited two studies from China that involved patients hospitalized for the new disease.
One found viral conjunctivitis in 1 out of 30 patients. The other found it in 9 of 1,099 (0.8%) lab-confirmed cases.
Recently, British ear, nose, and throat doctors have raised the alarm that loss of the sense of smell can be a symptom.
The three major symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, dry cough, and shortness of breath.
But some people carry the virus while exhibiting no symptoms or only mild ones.
Unlike the flu, which often causes fever and muscle aches, the early stages of COVID-19 can go on for a few days.
Some doctors also have seen that sore throat and sometimes gastrointestinal symptoms are signs of early disease.
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