Three people have now died after using eye drops contaminated with a rare bacterial superbug
Three people died, another eight lost their sight, and four patients had to have their eyeballs removed. using eye drops infected with rare bacteria.
As of March 14, 68 patients in 16 states have been infected with this “rare strain” of Pseudomonas aeruginosa, according to an update Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Global Pharma Healthcare has recalled its Artificial Tears Lubricant Eye Drops distributed by EzriCare and Delsam Pharma last month. Drops were sold in pharmacies throughout the country, including WalmartTarget and CVS, as well as on Amazon, although those products have since been removed.
Health authorities continue to track infections, investigating outbreaks in 16 states, including CaliforniaNew York, Illinois, Texas and Pennsylvania.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that 68 people in 16 states have been diagnosed with infections caused by the bacteria in EzriCare, resulting in three deaths and eight people losing their sight and four people having to have their eyes removed apples.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as of March 14, 68 patients in 16 states were infected with this “rare strain” of Pseudomonas aeruginosa.
The CDC urges patients who have used EzriCare or Delsam Pharma artificial tears and notice symptoms of an eye infection to seek medical attention “immediately.”
Signs of an eye infection include yellow, green, or clear discharge from the eye; eye pain or discomfort; redness of the eye or eyelid; sensation of something in the eyes; increased sensitivity to light; and blurred vision, CDC reports.
The majority of cases were associated with four regional groups, and Ezricare drops are the only product used by patients in each of these groups.
Most patients reported using 10 different brands of artificial tears, but the most commonly reported brand was EzriCare Artificial Tears, an over-the-counter, preservative-free product packaged in reusable bottles.
The CDC urges patients who have used EzriCare or Delsam Pharma artificial tears and notice symptoms of an eye infection to seek medical attention “immediately”
Global Pharma Healthcare has recalled its Artificial Tears Lubricant Eye Drops distributed by EzriCare and Delsam Pharma last month. The drops were sold at drugstores nationwide, including Walmart, Target and CVS
HERE ARE SOME SYMPTOMS OF AN EYE INFECTION TO LOOK OUT FOR:
Patients who have used EzriCare or Delsam Pharma artificial tears and have signs or symptoms of an eye infection should seek immediate medical attention.
Symptoms of an eye infection may include:
- Yellow, green, or clear eye discharge
- Redness of the eye or eyelid
- Something in the eye (foreign body sensation)
- Increased sensitivity to light
The CDC has identified 16 states with infected patients: California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, North Carolina, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Nevada, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Washington, and Wisconsin.
The recalled drops were manufactured by Global Pharma Healthcare in India, where the bacterium – Pseudomonas aeruginosa – is commonly associated with outbreaks in hospitals.
It can be spread through contaminated hands or medical equipment.
The outbreak is considered particularly alarming because the bacteria causing it are resistant to standard antibiotics.
Two case studies published in JAMA Ophthalmology this week and highlighted by CNN shed more light on the infections.
In one caseA 72-year-old woman lost vision in her left eye after using EzriCare artificial tears for about a week.
“Within a few days, she started noticing some blurry vision in her left eye,” said Dr. Ahmed Omar, an ophthalmologist at University Hospital Cleveland Medical Center who treated the woman.
“At first it was painless, but according to the patient and her husband, she woke up one morning and had yellow discharge on her pillow.
And then she began to notice that the appearance of her eyes had changed.”
When the woman went to the trauma center, doctors discovered a large ulcer on the left cornea.
She remained in the hospital for three weeks, enduring intravenous antibiotics, antibiotic eye drops and several surgeries.
She even ended up losing vision in her left eye due to serous choroidal detachment, an abnormal accumulation of fluid, the study said.
In one case, a 72-year-old woman lost vision in her left eye after using EzriCare artificial tears for about a week. She was in the hospital for three weeks, enduring IV antibiotics, antibiotic eye drops, and multiple surgeries.
This scanning electron microscope image taken by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows the rod-shaped bacterium Pseudomonas aeruginosa
Another case study involves a 72-year-old man with significant vision loss due to a corneal infection. It later improved, but he still has vision problems.
He had no previous eye problems, but after using EzriCare artificial tears to treat his dry eyes, he experienced severe pain and went to Bascom Palmer Eye Institute in Miami, where he was diagnosed with drug-resistant Pseudomonas aeruginosa keratitis.
“When we examined his right eye, there was a serious corneal infection,” said Dr. Marissa Shoji, who treated the man.
“He could only see shadows and couldn’t see the letters because of the big ulcer.”
Doctors started the man on strong antibiotics, but he only got worse.
“Normally we expect some improvement with these medications, but when we saw him two days later, he was much worse,” she said.
“That’s when we asked about EzriCare tears because we knew they were associated with a persistent infection that might not respond to really strong antibiotics.”
They found that cultures from the man’s cornea and the EzriCare vial grew the same strain of multidrug-resistant Pseudomonas.
In another case, a 72-year-old man had a severe infection in his left eye. Although it improved after a month, he still had problems with his vision
Doctors discovered that cultures from the man’s cornea and the EzriCare vial grew the same strain of multidrug-resistant Pseudomonas
At the two-month follow-up, his vision was 20/400, which means he can see at 20 feet what healthy people can see at 400 feet.
“At one point, he was in danger of losing his vision permanently,” said Dr. Guillermo Amezcua, an ophthalmologist at the Bascom Palmer Eye Institute.
“Now he has what is called corneal blindness because he is 20/400 and has a corneal scar, but he may have a better prognosis after a corneal transplant.”
In January, after learning of the CDC’s investigation into the Pseudomonas infection, EzriCare said it “took immediate action to stop any further distribution or sale of EzriCare artificial tears.” As far as possible, we have contacted customers to advise them not to continue using the product.’