The bacteria in the eye drops left fatal consequences

Rodrigo Diaz M.

The discovery of a rare strain of antibiotic-resistant bacteria in eye drops has been linked to the deaths of three people in the United States.

Eight people also reported vision loss and four others had their eyeballs surgically removed, believed to be the result of contaminated Global Pharma Healthcare artificial tear drops.

The eye drops, which are distributed by EzriCare and Delsam Pharma, were first recalled in February due to contamination with the bacteria Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Global Pharma issued a voluntary recall, citing manufacturing violations such as poor microbial testing and packaging of eye drops in multipurpose bottles without proper preservatives.

So far, the presence of this rare drug-resistant bacteria has not been detected in the United States.

To date, 68 people from 16 countries have been infected with the bacteria. Reported adverse symptoms include infections of the cornea, bloodstream, and respiratory and urinary tracts. Most patients report that they have used eye drops withdrawn from the market.

Anyone with signs of an eye infection who has used EzriCare or Delsam Pharma artificial tears should seek immediate medical attention. Symptoms of infection include yellow, green, or clear discharge from the eye, pain or discomfort in the eye, redness of the eye or eyelid, increased sensitivity to light, and blurred vision.

“Patients and healthcare professionals should immediately discontinue use of EzriCare artificial tears, pending further information and guidance from the CDC and FDA,” the official release said.

The bacterium Pseudomonas aeruginosa is commonly found in soil and water. EzriCare products or Delsam Pharma artificial tears are not sold in Canada.

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