(WFLA) — The Centers for Disease and Prevention issued an outbreak notification this week over an outbreak of drug-resistant bacteria across 12 states.
According to the CDC, 56 patients across Florida and 11 other states were infected with a rare, drug-resistant strain of Pseudomonas aeruginosa. One death and five cases of blindness from the disease have been reported.
Officials said this strain, designated with the name VIM-GES-CRPA, had never been detected in the United States before the outbreak, and it appeared that the outbreak was linked to the use of a brand of eye drops.
“Most patients reported using artificial tears,” the CDC said. “Patients reported over 10 different brands of artificial tears and some patients used multiple brands. EzriCare Artificial Tears, a preservative-free, over-the-counter product packaged in multidose bottles, was the brand most commonly reported. This was the only common artificial tears product identified across the four healthcare facility clusters.”
Researchers said opened bottles of EzriCare Artificial Tears from multiple lots contained the VIM-GES-CRPA strain. These bottles were taken from infected and uninfected people in two different states.
According to the CDC, they are still testing unopened bottles to see if the contamination happened during the manufacturing process.
Officials say if you have EzriCare or Delsam Pharma’s Artificial Tears, you should stop using them pending further information. If they were recommended as a treatment option by your doctor, ask your healthcare provider for alternative options.
If you have any signs of infection, seek medical care immediately. Symptoms may include:
- Yellow, green, or clear discharge from the eye
- Eye pain or discomfort
- Redness of the eye or eyelid
- Feeling of something in your eye (foreign body sensation)
- Increased sensitivity to light
- Blurry vision
For more information, check the CDC website.