Tainted eye drops in the US cause four deaths, more than a dozen cases of vision loss
- The bacteria so far has infected 81 people, including four who died and 14 who lost vision
- Most of the patients had used specific brands of eye drops and products from EzriCare and Delsam Pharma were recalled in February
- EzriCare said that the product was distributed “nationwide in the USA”
Health officials have reported another death and cases of vision loss in the United States from illnesses linked to eye drops tainted with a drug-resistant bacteria.
The bacteria has infected 81 people, including four who died and 14 who lost vision, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Friday.
That is up from three deaths and eight cases of vision loss reported in March.
The CDC also said four people had undergone surgery to remove an eyeball due to the infections.
The outbreak is considered particularly worrisome because the bacteria driving it — Pseudomonas aeruginosa — is resistant to standard antibiotics.
Investigators say most of the patients had used certain brands of eye drops, and products from EzriCare and Delsam Pharma were recalled in February. At least seven patients were diagnosed after the recall.
EzriCare said that the product was distributed “nationwide in the USA over the Internet”.
After the recall, US health inspectors visited the plant in India that made the eye drops and uncovered problems with how the drops were made and tested, including inadequate sterility measures.
Cases have been reported from 18 states — California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Illinois, North Carolina, New Jersey, New Mexico, Nevada, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Washington and Wisconsin.