The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is urging the public to immediately discontinue use of EzriCare Artificial Tears.
A serious outbreak of extensively drug-resistant pseuomonas bacteria related to contaminated eye drops has affected 68 people across 16 states, as reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Among these cases, 16 individuals have been hospitalized, eight have lost vision, four have had their eyeballs surgically removed, and one has died. The bacteria causing this outbreak is a highly drug-resistant form of Pseudomonas aeruginosa called VIM-GES-CRPA, which has never been seen in the US before.
Health officials believe the pseudomonas bacteria was introduced through eye drops manufactured by Global Pharma, an India-based company. The affected products, sold under the brand names EzriCare Artificial Tears and Delsam Pharma’s Artificial Eye Ointment, have been recalled, and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued warnings for consumers to stop using them.
Pseudomonas (VIM-GES-CRPA) is particularly challenging to combat because it can spread stealthily and remain asymptomatic in some patients. Of the 68 reported cases, 37 have been linked to clusters in four healthcare facilities. Although at least one newer antibiotic has been found effective against the VIM-GES-CRPA strain, the widespread distribution of the bacteria via eye drops is concerning. The outbreak threatens to undermine efforts to prevent such highly resistant organisms from becoming more common in the US.
The FDA has also posted recall notices for two other types of eye drops from Pharmedica and Apotex due to non-sterility concerns, but these have not been linked to the VIM-GES-CRPA outbreak. Individuals who have used the recalled eye drops and show signs of an eye infection should seek immediate medical care.
This outbreak highlights the potential dangers of drug-resistant bacteria and underscores the importance of strict quality control measures in pharmaceutical manufacturing. The situation raises questions about the oversight of international manufacturing processes and the need for more stringent regulations to ensure product safety.
Furthermore, the pseudomonas outbreak demonstrates the potential for drug-resistant bacteria to spread quickly and stealthily, particularly in healthcare facilities where vulnerable patients are more susceptible to infection. This outbreak is a reminder of the importance of robust infection control measures in these settings, as well as the need for continued research into new antibiotics and treatments to combat emerging drug-resistant pathogens.
Finally, this incident serves as a warning for consumers to be vigilant about the products they use, especially when it comes to medications. Consumers should stay informed about product recalls and follow guidance from health authorities to minimize the risk of exposure to potentially harmful substances.