Eye drops contaminated with drug-resistant bacteria can lead to death, blindness and eyeball removal in the United States, according to officials.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has confirmed that about 68 patients in 16 states, from New York and Washington to Texas and Florida, have been infected with a rare strain of Pseudomonas aeruginosa.
Before this outbreak, it had never been reported us forward.
While one person died, eight cases of vision loss have been reported, four of whom underwent enucleation, the CDC said.
Most infected patients reported the use of artificial tears.
Of the more than 10 brands initially identified, the most common was the over-the-counter product EzriCare.
Laboratory testing of opened vials removed from the patient found the bacteria.
Unopened bottles are currently being inspected to check for contamination during manufacturing.
India’s Global Pharma Healthcare, which makes EzriCare and Delsam Pharma artificial tears, issued a product recall last month after the CDC urged people to stop using the eye drops immediately.
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Numerous patients have filed legal action, including a Florida woman who claims she lost an eye after using the now-recalled eye drops.
Her attorney, Natasha Cortez, told NBC News: “It doesn’t contain preservatives, which are used to combat bacterial contamination of these products.
“There may be many more people who have been infected without realizing it.”
Patients who have used these products and develop symptoms of an eye infection should seek emergency medical advice.
Signs include yellow, green, or clear discharge from the eye, discomfort or pain, redness, blurred vision, and increased sensitivity to light.