The discovery of a rare strain of antibiotic-resistant bacteria in eye drops has been linked to the deaths of three people in the U.S., as per a CDC recall notice.
Eight people have also reported vision loss and four others have had an eyeball surgically removed as a believed result of contaminated Global Pharma Healthcare Artificial Tears Lubricant Eye Drops.
The eye drops, distributed by EzriCare and Delsam Pharma, were first recalled in February due to contamination of Pseudomonas aeruginosa bacteria. Global Pharma made the recall voluntarily, citing manufacturing violations, including subpar microbial testing and packaging eye drops in multi-use bottles without the correct preservatives.
The rare, drug-resistant bacteria had never been reported in the U.S. before now.
As of March 14, 68 people across 16 states have been affected by the bacteria. Reported adverse symptoms include infections of the cornea, bloodstream, respiratory and urinary tract. Most patients claimed to have used the since-recalled eye drops.
Anyone who has signs of an eye infection and has used EzriCare or Delsam Pharma’s Artificial Tears should seek medical care immediately. Symptoms of infection include yellow, green or clear discharge from the eye, eye pain or discomfort, redness of the eye or eyelid, increased light sensitivity and blurry vision.
“Patients and healthcare providers should immediately stop the use of EzriCare Artificial Tears pending additional information and guidance from CDC and FDA,” the CDC wrote.
The bacteria Pseudomonas aeruginosa is commonly found in the soil and water.
Global News has reached out to Health Canada for further comment. The EzriCare or Delsam Pharma’s Artificial Tears products do not appear to be sold in Canada.