- Stop using eye drops that may be linked to drug-resistant infections, the CDC said.
- The recommendation is a precaution, after fifty patients tested positive for a drug-resistant insect.
- Most patients used EzriCare artificial tears, but it is unclear whether the product caused the outbreak.
People should “immediately” stop using eye drops that may be linked to drug-resistant infections, the Centers for Disease and Control Prevention said.
The recommendation is a precaution after “permanent vision loss” resulting from an eye infection has been reported and one person has died of a blood infection, the CDC said. The patients tested positive for a multidrug-resistant bacterium.
As of January 20, 50 people in 11 states (California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Nevada, Texas, Utah and Washington) had tested positive for the bacteria, called Pseudomonas aeruginosa, according to the CDC.
The “majority” of patients with positive samples told the CDC that they had used eye drops before testing, and the most commonly mentioned brand was EzriCare Artificial Tears. The CDC said samples were taken from patients at hospitals and outpatient clinics between May 2022 and December 2022.
Pseudomonas aeruginosa, which can cause blood, lung or wound infections, is becoming increasingly difficult to treat as it develops defense mechanisms against antibiotics, known as antibiotic resistance. According to the CDC, the bacteria typically spreads to people in hospitals or other healthcare settings when exposed to contaminated water or soil, where it typically lives.
The strain of Pseudomonas aeruginosa that was found is resistant to carbapenems, which are powerful antibiotics that kill bacteria that cause diseases like pneumonia, urinary tract infections and serious skin infections. It is also resistant to two other antibiotics called ceftazidime, which doctors use for UTIs, meningitis, and blood infections, and cefepime, which can also be used for UTIs.
CDC investigating whether eye drops caused outbreak
Laboratory tests on some opened bottles of EzriCare eye drops detected another type of Pseudomonas aeruginosa.
This bacterium is undergoing further testing to confirm whether it matches the outbreak strain, the CDC said.
“Testing of unopened vials of EzriCare artificial tears is ongoing,” he said.
Stop using EzriCare artificial tears as a precaution
In the meantime, the CDC said it “recommends that clinicians and patients immediately discontinue use of EzriCare artificial tears until epidemiological investigation and laboratory testing are complete.”
EzriCare said in a statement Jan. 24 that the CDC has not asked the company to recall any products and has not received any “consumer complaints or adverse event reports related to the investigation.” .
“With great caution, EzriCare recommends that you DISCONTINUE USING all servings of EzriCare Lubricating Eye Drops for Artificial Tears until we can discover more details about potential safety issues,” he said. .
Insider has reached out to EzriCare for comment.