CDC warns that a brand of eyedrops may be linked to drug-resistant bacterial infections


At least one person has died, and others have gone blind. After using over-the-counter artificial tears, the CDC said.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. One person has died and at least three others have lost permanent vision. Because of a bacterial infection possibly linked to a brand of over-the-counter eyedrops.

CDC warns that a brand of eyedrops may be linked to drug-resistant bacterial infections

Most of the victims reported using preservative-free Ezricare artificial tears before becoming ill. The CDC said in a statement dated Jan. 20.

Although infections have not been definitively identified in eyedrops. The CDC recommends that “patients immediately stop using EzriCare artificial. Tears until epidemiological investigations and laboratory analyzes are complete.”

So far, the CDC team has identified at least 50 people. In 11 states with Pseudomonas aeruginosa, a bacteria resistant to most antibiotics. Cases have been reported in California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, New Jersey, New Mexico. New York, Nevada, Texas, Utah and Washington.

Most patients said they used EzriCare artificial tears before they got sick. Eleven developed eye infections, at least three of whom went blind in one eye. Others had respiratory infections or urinary tract infections. One person died if the bacteria entered the patient’s blood.

It is unclear whether the affected patients. Had an underlying eye condition, such as glaucoma or cataracts. That made them more susceptible. Symptoms of an eye infection include pain. Swelling, discharge, redness, blurred vision, sensitivity to light. And the sensation of having some foreign object stuck in the eye.

Pseudomonas aeruginosa bacteria are commonly found in water and soil. And even on the hands of otherwise healthy people. Infections usually occur in hospital settings in immunocompromised individuals. These types of bacteria are often resistant to standard antibiotics.

“That’s the concern,” said Dr. Jill Weatherhead, assistant professor of tropical medicine. And infectious diseases at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston. “Our standard treatment is no longer available” to treat this infection.

Drops under investigation are marked as conservation-free. That is, the product does not contain anything that can inhibit microbiological growth. The product may become contaminated during the manufacturing process. Or when a person with bacteria on their skin opens the container.

The CDC found the bacteria in the eyedrop bottles. And is testing to see if that bacteria matches the strain found in the patients.

As of Tuesday, EzriCare had not recalled artificial tears. They are sold on Amazon and in stores like Walmart.

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