America Suffers Outbreak of Drug-Resistant Bacteria Due to Eye Drops

An outbreak of a potentially deadly bacterial disease has erupted in the United States, affecting at least 12 states nationwide.

It has been connected with eye drops of the “artificial tears” type, which made the bacteria in question resistant to drugs.

One Person Has Died, Five Have Gone Blind

For years now, scientists and medical experts have been sounding the alarm over the increasing rates of drug resistance in bacteria. It is creating more and more life-threatening conditions and has partly been attributed to the haphazard or excessive application of antibiotics.

According to data published by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, in 2019, there were some 1.27 million deaths worldwide attributed directly to drug-resistant infections, hence a “substantial challenge” for public health around the world.

An outbreak of an infection resistant to drugs, but affecting diverse parts of the human organism has now erupted throughout America in a development demonstrating the problem, The Associated Press reported.

The outbreak has affected 12 states, with at least 55 known cases of the drug-resistant infection. It has claimed at least one life, while five people have suffered “permanent loss” of their eyesight.

The outbreak led the Centers for Disease Control and Prevent (CDC) to send out a public health emergency alert to doctors nationwide, notifying them of the dangerous development.

Infections resistant to drugs have been discovered in patients’ blood, lungs, and urine in some cases.

The outbreak has been linked to a brand of eye drops – EzriCare Artificial Tears – which has caused the manufacturer to recall the product that is sold over the counter. Many of the Americans infected with the drug-resistant bacterial disease said they used the eye drops.

The EzriCare Artificial Tears are a lubricant for treating eye dryness and irritation. The medication is produced in India. The manufacturer is Global Pharma Healthcare.

Eye Drops Produced in India under Inadequate Conditions

Global Pharma Healthcare initiated a recall of unexpired batches of EzriCare Artificial Tears, according to an announcement by the Federal Drug Administration (FDA).

The same manufacturer also recalled another similar eye drop product, Delsam Pharma’s Artificial Tears. The FDA said it recommended the eye drop recall because of manufacturing problems, such as the lack of adequate testing, and quality packaging controls.

The federal drugs agency also banned the product’s import into the United States. The infection in question has been caused by a bacteria named Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Its outbreak strain was found by investigators in open bottles of EzriCare eye drops.

The EzriCare company announced it terminated the distribution of eye drops throughout the US. On its website, it put a notification warning against using the product.

So far infections caused by the eye drops have been detected in California, New York, Florida, Colorado, New Jersey, Connecticut, New Mexico, Nevada, Texas, Utah, Wisconsin, and Washington state.

It was in Washington state that a person died of a blood infection after using the eye drops.

The investigation into the outbreak established that the bacterial strain resisted any routine antibiotics. Only a newer antibiotic called cefiderocol turned out to work.

The infection infected the bloodstream through the tear ducts and the nasal cavity by reaching the lungs, according to CDC officials.


This article appeared in The State Today and has been published here with permission.