CDC Warns Of Artificial Tears Eye Drops; Dangerous Side Effects Including Death

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  • Source: Wayne Dupree
  • 03/23/2023
The death toll of an outbreak connected to contaminated recalled eye drops has grown and more people have lost their vision. According to an update published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Tuesday, the number of deaths has grown from one — which occurred in Washington state — to three. In addition, eight people have lost their eyesight and another four have had their eyes removed. The CDC did not provide any information in its update about the affected patients including names, ages, sexes or where they live.

More than 10 distinct brands of fake tears have been recalled. Most cases have been connected to EzriCare and Delsam Pharma eye drops, made by India-based Global Pharma Healthcare.

The CDC reports that a strain of the antibiotic-resistant bacterium Pseudomonas aeruginosa was found in the eye drops. Pseudomonas aeruginosa is the most common species of Pseudomonas to cause infections in humans. The infection is prevalent health care settings and spreads via insufficient hygiene either owing to unclean hands or medical equipment and surfaces not being properly cleaned.

According to the CDC, P. aeruginosa is resistant to various drug classes, has caused 32,600 infections and an estimated 2,700 fatalities in U.S. hospitals. The strain that has been connected to the outbreak, however, had never been reported in the United States before, the CDC claimed in its update.

As of March 14, 68 persons across 16 states have been afflicted with P. aeruginosa. There is evidence connecting 37 of those cases to four different healthcare facilities.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) told ABC News that the outbreak strain was found in bottles of EzriCare Artificial Tears obtained from two states after testing of opened product. "Testing of unopened product to evaluate for intrinsic contamination is ongoing by [the U.S. Food and Drug Administration]."

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a joint warning last month advising against the use of EzriCare Artificial Tears and Delsam Pharma Artificial Tears due to concerns of bacterial contamination.

After the warning, Global Pharma Healthcare announced a voluntary recall of both products, alerting distributors and recommending wholesalers, retailers and customers who had the goods to halt usage.

Not shortly after, the FDA also requested that Global Pharma recall Delsam Pharma's Artificial Eye Ointment, which the business agreed to. Thus yet, no reports of infections have been related to this product.

The CDC has issued a warning to anyone who has used EzriCare or Delsam Pharma eye drops and is now experiencing symptoms of an eye infection. Such symptoms include yellow, green, or clear discharge from the eye; eye pain or discomfort; red eyes or eyelids; feeling of something in the eye; increased sensitivity to light; and blurry vision.

"The search for more cases and the gathering of additional data on the clinical course and outcomes of our patients continues. We are updating cases when state health departments report them to us," the CDC cautioned.

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