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Pink eye outbreak shuts schools in American Samoa

Fri, 04/04/2014 - 5:19pm
Fili Sagapolutele - Associated Press - Associated Press

PAGO PAGO, American Samoa (AP) — American Samoa officials have ordered all public schools in the U.S. island territory closed after nearly 2,300 students contracted pink eye.

The outbreak prompted the Friday closure of 28 schools from preschool through high school.

Education Department director Salu Hunkin-Finau says nearly 2,300 students and 130 teachers have pink eye. About 13,000 kids are enrolled.

Hunkin-Finau says schools won't reopen until Wednesday.

The Centers for Disease Control says conjunctivitis — known as pink eye — is one of the most common eye conditions, inflaming tissue on the eyeball and lining the eyelid.

Local government officials believe the disease was spread from neighboring Samoa, where an outbreak closed schools for a week last month.

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

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