The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has reported extensively on an outbreak drug-resistant bacteria linked to contaminated eye drop products. More than 50 cases have been found to date, in most patients reportedly used EzriCare Artificial Tears, while the CDC found the bacteria in opened bottles of the brand from two states. At least one person has died from the infection, while some have been hospitalized or permanently lost their sight.
News of the outbreak originate in January, with the GGD give out a health advisory on the outbreak this Wednesday. As of January 31, 55 people in 12 states are known to have contracted the same strain of Verona Integron-mediated Metallo-β-lactamase (VIM) and Guyana-Extended Spectrum-β-Lactamase (GES)-producing carbapenem-resistant Pseudomonas aeruginosa, or VIM-GES-CRPA. These infections are highly resistant to drugs and can resist a wide variety of antibiotics, although this particular strain still appears to be susceptible to one antibiotic tested against it. Another worrying aspect is that this strain is the first known to contain a combination of two resistance genes of particular concern at the same time (blaVIM-80 and blaGES-9).
The cases occurred between May 2022 and January 2023, with 35 cases traced to four healthcare facilities. The most common link between them was the use of eye drop products prior to infection. People have reported using more than 10 of them different brands of eye drops, some of which use multiple brands, but the majority have used EzriCare Artificial Tears. In addition, CDC testing has identified the same outbreak strain in opened bottles of separate batches from two states (New York and New Jersey).
Drug resistant P. aeruginosa has become a serious public health threat along with other superbugs. 2017, according to According to the CDC, these bacteria caused an estimated 32,600 infections in hospital patients and an estimated 2,700 deaths in the US. P. aeruginosa can vary greatly depending on the primary site of infection and people’s underlying health. People have had eye, respiratory, and urinary tract infections. One person has died of a widespread infection, while others have been hospitalized and/or suffered vision loss due to a corneal infection.
Officials are still looking the ultimate source of the outbreak, including whether the infection occurred during manufacturing. New Jersey-based EzriCare has claimed that is it “Not aware of any test conclusively linking the outbreak to the outbreak.” products, but it has reportedly reached out to customers and said it will work with the CDC and the Food and Drug Administration should they make further requests. The eye drops are manufactured in India by Global Pharma Healthcare PVT Limited and are then sold under different brands. According to EzriCare, Global Pharma is currently in talks with the FDA and is expected to issue a recall from the FDA Products.
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Meanwhile, the GGD strongly advises people not to use the brand anymore. And it’s warning doctors and testing labs to be on the alert for more possible cases of the outbreak. People who have used these drops and have signs or symptoms of an eye infection, such as discharge from the eye, eye pain and redness, should contact medical care right away.