Bacteria Strain Linked To Eyedrops That Killed, Led To Eyeball Removal: CDC

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is teaming with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to investigate an infection linked to select eye drops that have led to multiple deaths and forced others to remove their eyes through surgery.

EzriCare Artificial Tears
EzriCare Artificial Tears Photo Credit: EzriCare
EzriCare Artificial Tears
EzriCare Artificial Tears Photo Credit: EzriCare

Consumers are being advised to stop using EzriCare or Delsam Pharma’s Artificial Tears products as they continue to investigate a multi-state outbreak of “an extensively drug-resistant strain of Pseudomonas aeruginosa.”

According to the CDC, infections usually occur in people in the hospital or with weakened immune systems. It is particularly dangerous for patients with chronic lung disease.

Officials say that the outbreak strain had never been reported in the United States until this outbreak, which has resulted in at least three deaths, eight reports of vision loss, and four reports of surgical removal of eyeballs, according to the agencies in an update released this week.

In total, upwards of 70 patients have suffered severe injuries as a result of using the eye drops, most of whom reported using artificial tears.

Patients have reported more than 10 different brands of said artificial tears linked to infections, with some using multiple brands, though EzriCare and Delsam were specifically identified by the CDC in its most recent update on the outbreak this week.

According to officials, EzriCare Artificial Tears, an over-the-counter product packaged in multi-dose bottles, was the brand most commonly reported, and was the only common product identified across four healthcare facility clusters linked to the outbreak.

“The outbreak is associated with multiple types of infections, including eye infections. The investigation to date has identified artificial tears as a common exposure for many patients,” health officials stated.

“At this time, CDC and FDA recommend clinicians and patients stop using EzriCare or Delsam Pharma’s Artificial Tears products pending additional guidance from CDC and FDA.”

The most recent update from the CDC and FDA, as well as additional information about the origins and impact of the outbreak, can be found here. An informational pamphlet about the symptoms of Pseudomonas aeruginosa from the CDC can be found here.

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