Eye drops linked to US drug-resistant bacteria outbreak – WISH-TV | Indianapolis News | Indiana Weather

NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. health officials are advising people to stop using over-the-counter eye drops, which have been linked to an outbreak of drug-resistant infections.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention sent a health alert to doctors Wednesday night, saying the outbreak was affecting at least 55 people in 12 states. One died.

Disease investigators have linked the infections, including some found in the blood, urine and lungs, to EzriCare Artificial Tears. Many of the patients reported using the product, a lubricant used to treat irritation and dryness.

The infections were all caused by a bacterium called Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Investigators discovered this type of bacteria in open EzriCare bottles, but further testing was underway to determine if the strains matched.

EzriCare said it was not aware of any evidence definitely linking the outbreak to the product, but it has stopped distributing the eye drops. It also has a notice on its website urging consumers to stop using the drops.

“As far as possible we have contacted customers to advise them against further use of the product. We also immediately reached out to the CDC and FDA and expressed our willingness to cooperate on any inquiries they have for us,” the company said.

Two weeks ago, the CDC warned medical societies about the possible link between the drops and the infections. Wednesday’s warning was a broader, more public warning.

Infections have been diagnosed in patients in California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Nevada, Texas, Utah, Washington and Wisconsin. One patient – in Washington – died from a blood infection. At least three others suffered permanent vision loss. They were in California and New Jersey.

The outbreak is considered of particular concern because the bacteria that fuel it are resistant to standard antibiotics.

Investigators found that the bacteria were not susceptible to antibiotics, which are routinely tested in public health laboratories. However, a newer antibiotic called cefiderocol seemed to be working.

How can eye drops cause infections in the blood or lungs? The eye is connected to the nasal cavity through the tear ducts. Bacteria can migrate from the nasal cavity to the lungs. Also, bacteria in these parts of the body can trigger infections elsewhere, such as in the blood or in wounds, CDC officials said.

The product is manufactured in India by Global Pharma Healthcare Pvt Ltd. manufactured, EzriCare said.

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