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CDC traces superbug outbreak to EzriCare eye drops

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Image from article titled CDC traces superbug outbreak to tainted eye drops
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EzriCare eye drops

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has reported an outbreak of drug-resistant bacteria linked to contaminated eye drop products. More than 50 cases have been discovered to date, most patients reportedly used EzriCare artificial tears, while the CDC found the bacteria in open bottles of the two-state brand. At least one person has died from the infection, while some have been hospitalized or permanently lost their sight.

Epidemic news has emerged in January, with the CDC emission a health notice on the epidemic this Wednesday. As of January 31, 55 people in 12 states are known to have contracted the same strain of Verona Integron-mediated metallo-β-lactamase (VIM) and Guyana-Extended Spectrum-β-Lactamase (GES) producing resistance to carbapenems Pseudomonas aeruginous, or VIM-GES-CRPA. These infections are extremely drug resistant, able to fend off a wide variety of antibiotics, although this specific strain always appears to be susceptible to an antibiotic tested against it. Another worrying aspect is that this strain is the first known to present a combination of two resistance genes of particular concern at the same time (blahVIM-80 and blahGES-9).

The cases occurred between May 2022 and January 2023, with 35 cases traced to four health facilities. The most common link between them was the the use of eye drops before infection. People reported using more than 10 different brands of eye drops, some using multiple brands, but the majority used EzriCare artificial tears. Additionally, CDC testing identified the same epidemic strain in opened vials from separate lots from two states (New York and New Jersey).

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drug resistant P aeruginous has become a serious threat to public health, along with other superbugs. In 2017, according to at the CDC, these bacteria have caused an estimated 32,600 infections among hospitalized patients and an estimated 2,700 deaths in the United States. P aeruginous can vary greatly depending on the primary site of infection and the underlying health of individuals. During this outbreak, people developed eye, respiratory, and urinary tract infections. One person died of a generalized infection, while others were hospitalized and/or suffered vision loss due to corneal infection.

Authorities are still trying to find the ultimate source of the outbreak, including whether the contamination occurred during manufacturing. EzriCare, based in New Jersey, has claims that’s all “not aware of tests that definitively link” the epidemic to its products, but he reportedly contacted customers and said he would cooperate with the CDC and the Food and Drug Administration if they made further requests. The eye drops are manufactured in India by Global Pharma Healthcare PVT Limited and are then sold under different brands. According to EzriCare, Global Pharma is currently in discussions with the FDA and should issue a recall of the some products.

In the meantime, the CDC is urging people to stop using the mark. And it warns doctors and testing labs to be on alert for other potential outbreak cases. People who have used these drops and who have signs or symptoms of eye infection, such as eye discharge, eye pain and redness, should consult medical attention right away.

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