CDC: 2 more people have died after using over-the-counter eye drops — and 4 people had their eyes surgically removed
The CDC reported two additional deaths in an outbreak of rare, drug-resistant bacterial eye infections.
Since February, three people have died, eight lost their vision, and four had their eyeballs removed.
The CDC said multiple people affected had used over-the-counter eye drops called EzriCare Artificial Tears.
Two additional people have died — now raising the death toll to three — in a multistate outbreak of bacterial eye infections linked to recalled eye drops, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported this week.
Since January, the CDC has identified 68 people in 16 states infected with a drug-resistant bacteria called Pseudomonas aeruginosa.
Eight people have lost their vision in one or both eyes, and four people have had their eyeballs surgically removed, Insider's Catherine Schuster Bruce has reported.
Soon after the outbreak was first reported, the CDC alerted Americans that many of the affected people had used EzriCare Artificial Tears, a brand of over-the-counter eye drops. The India-based manufacturer subsequently pulled its supply from shelves.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) also got involved, warning consumers and healthcare professionals against the purchase of multiple eye ointments made by the manufacturer Global Pharma.
The FDA said in February that it's investigating the root cause of Pseudomonas aeruginosa, which hadn't been previously detected in the country, Schuster-Bruce reported.
Pseudomonas aeruginosa can cause infections in the blood, lungs, and wounds on the body. According to the CDC, it usually spreads in healthcare settings when people are exposed to contaminated water or soil, where it typically lives. It can also spread from person-to-person through contaminated hands, surfaces and equipment. The people who are most at-risk of infection are hospital patients who are on ventilators, using catheters, or have surgery wounds or burns.
Treating the infections caused by the bacteria is becoming increasingly difficult, since the bacteria has been morphing to develop resistance against antibiotics.
But eye experts previously told Insider consumers shouldn't panic since the infections are still rare, and there are easy ways to use eye drops safely, like using brands that are single-use and preservative-free. It's also important to know the signs of an eye infection like eye pain, blurry vision, and discharge.
Insider has contacted Global Pharma for comment.
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