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Massive Samoa pink eye outbreak hits thousands, forces school closures

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The American Samoa pink eye outbreak has continued to get worse, and it’s now so bad that most schools in the U.S. territory will remain closed for the rest of the week, with thousands of students and teachers affected by the eye infection, ABC News reported on April 9.

The American Samoa pink eye outbreak now affects at least 2,400 students and teachers and has also disrupted court proceedings and prevented passengers from boarding some flights.

Pink eye, known officially as conjunctivitis, is one of the most common eye conditions affecting children and adults alike, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The American Samoa pink eye outbreak has left more than 30 percent of teachers on sick leave with pink eye, which is highly contagious.

Schools in American Samoa had shut down last week because of the pink eye outbreak and were scheduled to reopen this Wednesday. But with the American Samoa pink eye outbreak still growing, only four of 28 schools were back in session as planned this week.

Officials said the number of people affected by the American Samoa pink eye outbreak was alarming, according to The Associated Press. Officials said it’s thought that the pink eye outbreak on American Samoa spread from neighboring Samoa, which saw a pink eye outbreak in March.

The Samoa pink eye outbreak began in March and affected hundreds, according to the Samoa Observer. The Acting CEO of Education ordered schools there closed for at least a week, according to the Ministry of Education, Sports and Culture (M.E.S.C.).

In American Samoa, some 13,000 kids are enrolled in public schools, which means that more than 10 percent of students there are thought to have pink eye now.

American Samoa is a group of islands in the South Pacific Ocean about halfway between New Zealand and Hawaii.